SCIOTO COUNTY — There’s just something fun about the word ‘penultimate’.
Whether it’s the second-to-last episode of your favorite HBO show, or the second-to-last week of the high school football regular season, if the word ‘penultimate’ is used, it’s likely you’re nearing the end of your desired destination.
For Scioto County’s nine football teams, they’ll be attempting to sure-up their position in the everybody-gets-a-spot 2020 playoffs.
Valley at Wheelersburg
Valley, while not having done so since their 2013 meeting, know what it’s like to upend the Wheelersburg Pirates.
Its fellow league compatriot Waverly managed to hand the Pirates their first SOC II loss a week ago — since the Indians managed the same feat in back-to-back seasons in 2012 and 2013.
Two seasons ago in their most recent matchup at Ed Miller Stadium, the defending Division V state champion Pirates handed the Indians a 37-6 loss — a result they’ll attempt to mirror in their return to EMS for their home regular-season finale.
So far in 2020, Wheelersburg is surrendering 17.5 points per game to their opponents on their home field.
West at Oak Hill
Oak Hill will be attempting a three-for-three sweep in SOC II home contests in its game against Portsmouth West this Friday night.
With home wins over Valley and Minford in weeks two and four, respectively, the Oaks have averaged 34.5 points per game and surrendered just 24.5 points per game.
West — coming off a 28-14 home win over Valley — will be attempting to go over .500 prior to its week-six rivalry game versus Wheelersburg.
Waverly at Minford
If there’s a hotter team on offense in the Southeast District not named the Waverly Tigers, they remain to be seen.
In this SOC II matchup, the Falcons’ secondary will be tested in their attempt to slow down a Tigers’ offense averaging 44.3 points per game through their first four contests.
With Waverly coming off a historic, streak-snapping win over Wheelersburg, Minford will hope to catch its visitors slipping with explosiveness of its own — and aim to hand the Tigers their first loss of 2020.
Portsmouth at Coal Grove
Offensively, Portsmouth did more than enough to win its shootout matchup with Chesapeake in week four.
The Trojans’ defense, however, surrendered 49 points — and the final two scores to the Panthers’ offense.
If Portsmouth (1-3) can find a way to win its second-to-last Ohio Valley Conference contest ahead of the home and regular-season finale versus Gallia Academy, the Trojans will have a chance to improve to .500 ahead of the OHSAA playoffs — which are set to begin on Oct. 9.
Symmes Valley at Notre Dame
When the Titans play on their home field at Portsmouth’s Spartan Municipal Stadium, they become all the more dangerous.
In their lone home game of this season so far, the Titans blanked Green in a weather-shortened game, 35-0.
Notre Dame will conclude its regular-season schedule with home games against the Vikings and archrival East.
Senior quarterback Caleb Nichols, running back Logan Emnett, Beau Hobbs, Dylan Seison and Jake McGuire — along with the Titans’ front line — have proven to be one of the most formidable rushing attacks in league play so far.
While there may not be many passes thrown in this SOC I matchup on Friday, the Titans will be hoping to carry the ball well enough to secure their first win over the visiting Vikings — the defending division champion — since 2016.
East at Green
Interestingly enough, each of the last two matchups between the Tartans and Bobcats have been decided by one touchdown and a two-point conversion.
East, the visitors in Franklin Furnace in 2018, nearly handed the Bobcats their first loss in their best regular season in 29 years.
A year later, the Bobcats traveled to Sciotoville — and defeated the Tartans 22-14.
Green was one of several Division VII programs in the state of Ohio to opt-out of the upcoming OHSAA playoffs.
Both teams will be in search of their first win this season, while the Bobcats will be attempting to score their first points since week one.
Reach Jacob Smith at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1930, by email at [email protected], or on Twitter @JacobSmithPDT © 2020 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved