The dust has settled on the 2021 football regular season and thanks to the playoff expansion implemented this offseason by the OHSAA, 12 regional teams are heading into the playoffs.
Teams ranging from eight-win league champions to one-win teams that waited until the last week to land their ticket to the tournament represent the Morning Journal’s coverage area in the 2021 playoffs.
Let’s take a look at who they are as we travel around the area’s teams in the playoffs:
SECTION I, REGION 1
For what must be the first time in OHSAA history, a one-win team has advanced to the playoffs.
Lorain – thanks to his 2-8 victory over Shaw in Week 10 – took the No. 16 seed in DI, R1. The titans
Robert Gonzalez scored six times in Lorain’s victory. Once on a pick-six, once after catching a pass from quarterback Joseph Wyatt and four times on the ground. Gonzalez does just about everything for Lorain, starting with the running back, defensive back and punter, while also taking care of the occasional quarterback duties in a wild-type lineup.
Lorain avoids a meeting with Team No.1 in the latest DI AP poll, Medina, instead they will face Team No.2 in St. Edward.
Elyria is the No. 12 seed in Region 1. The Pioneers ended the regular season with a resounding victory over Midview in a game that had major playoff implications for the Middies.
Elyria draws No. 7 seeded Cleveland Heights in the first round. The Tigers are 8-2 this season in the Lake Erie League. The Pioneers finished their inaugural season in the Southwestern Conference with an overall record of 6-4.
SECTION II, REGION 6
The densest region, D-II, R6 is again titrated by Avon. The Eagles won their sixth straight SWC title with a victory over Amherst in Week 10, and are the second seed in the region.
Avon will host Toledo St. Francis de Sales in the first round as they look to return to their fourth straight semi-final.
Avon Lake, Olmsted Falls and North Olmsted have also gained places in the region. The Shoremen are the No. 5 seed and host the No. 12 seed St. John’s Jesuit of Toledo in the first round on October 29.
Olmsted Falls – who shared the SWC title with Avon – is the No.6 seed despite a head-to-head victory over Avon Lake. The Bulldogs welcome Valley Forge in the first round. The Patriots lost their Week 10 Great Lakes Conference crossover to Elyria Catholic.
No. 13 North Olmsted moves to play the No. 4 seed in Toledo Central Catholic. The Eagles lost their third straight game in Week 10 to Holy Name, falling to 6-4 after a 6-1 start.
SECTION III, REGION 10
One of four regional teams to make the top four seeds, Rocky River is the third seed in their region. The Pirates earned this ranking after beating Buckeye – the No.6 seed – in the GLC Championship game, 23-12.
Rocky River hosts Toledo Rogers (4-5) and would host a second-round playoff game if they won.
Also in D-III, R10, Bay # 9 will travel to face the Holy Name # 8. The Rockets won their Week 10 crossover match against Lakewood with a last-second save on a two-run attempt from the Rangers.
SECTION IV, REGION 14
Keystone enters the playoffs as the top ranked zonal team in D-IV, R14. The Wildcats won their third straight Lorain County league with a winless win over Clearview in Week 10.
Firelands narrowly missed the playoffs after leading Columbia through Week 10. The Falcons ended the season as the No. 17 ranked team in the region.
SECTION V, REGION 18
Elyria Catholic won second place in Region 18 after an 8-2 regular season. The Panthers closed their GLC roster with a Week 10 crossover victory over Valley Forge.
SECTION VI, REGION 21
The only zone-to-zone match occurs in D-VI, R21 as No.2 Columbia hosts No.15 Wellington in a Lorain County League rematch. The Dukes were in the playoff bubble heading into Week 10 and managed to squeeze in despite a loss.
The Raiders won the first meeting between the two teams in Week 7, 49-14.