Phrases like that could be distributed throughout the region for the events that unfolded last week.
This was the hardest week yet for these rankings and for the first time in a while we have a new No. 1.
The Minford-Wheelersburg game sent shockwaves throughout the rankings. Some teams that lost gained positions and some teams that won dropped spots. All will be explained below.
These are but the humble opinions of a local sports editor. Bear that in mind as you read this, the sixth installment of the ...
2009 Power Rankings
1. West (2) 5-1
The Senators took it to the Tigers last week with Mark Murphy and Trevon Pendleton again leading the way to take the No. 1 spot in the rankings for the second time this season.
Early on I often referred to the youth of this West team. At this point in the season though, the Senators look seasoned, poised and capable of winning a second-straight SOC II title.
The road is extremely difficult though. West faces Minford this week and as everyone familiar with SOC football knows, every conference match could become a dogfight.
2. Minford (5) 5-1
I thought I may have dropped the Falcons a little too far a little too fast after their loss to Oak Hill two weeks ago and they proved me right.
The Falcons defense came through big as the Pirates went for two, and the win, last Friday which showed very plainly that this team belongs in the conversation as one of the area’s best.
The Falcons hit the road this week as No. 1 faces No. 2 at “The Rock” in West Portsmouth. That matchup will determine a lot in the SOC II race, the playoff points standings — and least importantly — first place these very power rankings.
3. Wheelersburg (1) 4-2
In Wheelersburg’s three games against teams that have winning records at this point in the season, the Pirates are 1-2.
I still think the Pirates are one of the best teams in the area so they fall only two spots while Minford moved up to No. 2.
Wheelersburg will lick its wounds against Northwest this week on the road but can’t afford a let down against an improving Mohawk team.
With only five conference games each, one loss is tough to take but it hardly puts anyone out of the running. Last year’s SOC II runners up are still very much in the mix and will most certainly have some role in who the champion will be.
4. Oak Hill (3) 6-0
I believe head-to-head matches carry the most weight in any scenario and Oak Hill did beat Minford. On top of that, Minford beat Wheelersburg which makes the Oaks’ win over the Falcons two weeks ago even more impressive.
The reason the Oaks are below both of those teams has mostly to do with their schedule. Minford was a tough test for the Oaks and they passed it, but the level of competition they face just isn’t the same as the Pirates and Falcons.
Even so, last week Oak Hill knocked off defending SOC I champion East to remain undefeated and get a proverbial “monkey off their back” by beating the Tartans.
Several teams below the Oaks have also played much tougher schedules but 6-0 and looking like a clear conference favorite has got to count for something.
5. Portsmouth (4) 4-2
While the Trojans technically drop a spot in the rankings this week, I find it easier to say they stayed put, while Minford jumped three spots for a quality win.
Portsmouth looked good for the second week in a row in defeating Gallia Academy (0-6). The offense looked good last week and the special teams were incredible, scoring three touchdowns.
Even factoring in Gallia’s tough record, the win did come over a winless team, meaning the Trojans remain comfortably in the top five.
A win over Warren (6-0) at the Trojan Coliseum this week won’t come easy, but if it happens that way it could put the Trojans in great position for the playoffs.
6. Valley (6) 5-1
The toughest part of Valley’s season is weeks seven, eight and nine. In those weeks the Indians host West and travel to Wheelersburg and Minford. The non-conference part of the schedule saw Valley face just one winning team (Coal Grove 5-1) and that resulted in a 38-26 loss.
Valley has won the games it should win though with its five wins coming against opponents with a combined record of 4-26. This team is the wild card in the SOC II.
I’ve seen tape of the Valley-South Point game and what I saw was a powerful offense and a good defense. What I’m looking forward to is seeing how that stacks up against some tougher teams.
Valley is on the road at Waverly (3-3) this week.
7. Symmes Valley (7) 5-1
The Vikings, much like Valley, are a hard team to get a handle on. Southern, Northwest and Green are all multiple-win teams that fell to the Vikings but the team also lost to 1-5 Chesapeake.
A win over East in Willow Wood is a reachable, though difficult, task and it would set the Vikings up for a showdown at Oak Hill with major ramifications.
The next two weeks will tell us a lot about the Vikings.
8. Waverly (9) 3-3
Derek Roback and company need to bounce back from a crushing loss to West last week. The Tigers weren’t able to establish much offense against the Senators and West’s powerful rushing attack proved to be too much.
This week Waverly hosts Valley, a team on a roll. Getting back over .500 will not be easy.
9. East (8) 3-3
The defending champions of the SOC I shouldn’t lose hope despite last week’s loss to Oak Hill. East can’t afford to worry about what happens with the Oaks now though as that is out of their hands.
If the Tartans can get things rolling again like they did the first two weeks of the season, six or seven wins is still a possibility. Last season, four of the five teams in Region 24 that won seven games made the playoffs.
10. Northwest (10) 2-4
Tough times appear to be back for Northwest after winning two of their first four games. The Piketon and Symmes Valley games were both winnable contests for the Mohawks but the ball didn’t bounce their way.
Two wins already makes this Northwest’s best season since 2005. Equaling the four-win total from 2005 would require a major upset however. Northwest is clearly a team on the rise but the schedule is brutal the rest of the way.
11. Notre Dame (12) 2-4
Becoming the latest team to beat Manchester gets the Titans out of dead last. Still, the Greyhounds equaled their best offensive output of the season against the Titans and lost by their second lowest margin of defeat this year.
Hopefully for Notre Dame that 48-point performance will kick start its offense as it begins SOC I play at home this week against undefeated Oak Hill.
As an aside, with one exception Manchester has appeared in this column each week as a result of playing a local team. If anyone is interested in following the Greyhounds quest for their first win since reviving the program, we’ll keep an eye on the rest of their schedule. They could win a few.
The downside for the local teams that faced Manchester? Three of its four remaining contest will not count in the OHSAA rankings so second level points are unlikely.
12. Green (11) 2-4
Green was shut out by Symmes Valley last week, the second time they’ve been shut out this season.
Green gets a break from official conference play this week, facing friend-of-the-SOC South Gallia. The Rebels again are playing a full SOC I schedule and defeated Notre Dame two weeks ago.
This game is Green’s last chance to really get things together before facing the rest of its SOC I schedule.
JOHN STEGEMAN can be reached at email@example.com