SCIOTO COUNTY — Rivalry week.
Considering this usually takes place in week 10 in any normal year, it’s a little strange to see some of these matchups happen in the first weekend of October.
With eight Scioto County teams scheduled to appear in the 2020 OHSAA playoffs beginning next week, this year’s final week of already scheduled regular-season games will be most teams’ final chance at a tune-up before they begin playing win-or-go-home football.
Rivalry week also poses the opportunity for area teams to upend their longtime rivals, or extend their winning streaks on their home fields or in their all-time series’.
Which of those is more-likely-than-not to happen?
In 2020, the answer may not always be as easy as it seems.
Onto the matchups…
(5-1) Wheelersburg at (3-2) West
What happens when the unstoppable force meets the immovable object?
Those characterizations of the Pirates’ multi-tooled ground attack and the Senators’ shutdown rushing defense maybe somewhat of an exaggeration, but they likely tell the tape in what will decide Friday’s contest.
Through its first five games, Wheelersburg rushing offense has totaled 1,246 yards for an average of 249 yards per game.
In four of its first five regular-season contests, West’s rushing defense limited its opponents to just 332 total yards on the ground for an 83 yards-per-game average.
West will also be seeking its first win in this rivalry since 2011 — and first over the Pirates at ‘The Rock’ since 2008.
(2-3) Minford at (1-4) Valley
A senior-laden Indians’ bunch upended a likely playoff-bound Falcons’ team 42-14 the last time these two met in Lucasville for the Lucasville-Minford Road rivalry.
Last year, the Falcons returned the favor with a 33-0 shutout win on their home field — guaranteeing them a spot in the postseason for the first time since 2012.
As both teams attempt to avoid losing skids to end their regular seasons, Minford is also seeking its first win in Lucasville since a 7-6 victory over the Indians in 2010.
(4-1) Gallia Academy at (1-4) Portsmouth
The Trojans had no trouble scoring in Friday’s 66-63 road loss to Coal Grove.
They did, however, struggle to get enough stops to win the game.
The visiting Blue Devils will enter Trojan Coliseum allowing just 23.6 points per game while scoring an average of 32.2 points per game.
For Portsmouth to end its losing skid ahead of the postseason, it would mean the program’s first win over Gallia Academy since 2016.
(1-3) East at (1-4) Notre Dame
A week after nearly upending defending SOC I champion Symmes Valley in overtime, the Titans welcome rival East for their regular-season finale at Spartan Stadium.
In week five, Green managed to stretch the Tartans’ defense east and west for some success in its narrow loss in Franklin Furnace.
Expect Notre Dame’s rushing attack to do the same, as these teams will likely hit the road for their first playoff game next Friday.
(0-5) Green at (4-1) Eastern
The Bobcats’ road trip to Eastern on Friday will mark the end of their 2020 season, as Green was one of several Division VII programs to opt out of the upcoming OHSAA playoffs.
While the Eagles will indeed need to take care of business against the visiting Bobcats, their eyes will also likely be turned towards Willow Wood — to see if Symmes Valley can upend Northwest who with a win can clinch the outright SOC I championship.