Oak Harbor and Clyde for the top of the conference. At least a share of it.
But wait -- What about Huron?
Clyde was the consensus favorite in the preseason to repeat as Sandusky Bay Conference champions with Huron second.
After the Tigers fell to the Fliers 15-0 in Week 5, they were written off as challengers for the title -- It was all about Clyde's Week 9 battle with Oak Harbor. But Perkins' win over Clyde and Huron's defeat of Oak Harbor in Week 8 took the some of the air out of the Fliers-Rockets matchup -- all of the sudden they're not alone at the top of the conference.
If Huron is able to beat Margaretta this week, they'll be tied at 5-1 with the winner of the Clyde-Oak Harbor game. The Tigers would travel to a tough but winnable game at Port Clinton in Week 10 for at least a share of the conference.
Look out for No. 1
Archbold might have a chance to leapfrog Western Reserve, even if both teams win out.
But in Region 18, No. 2 might not be such a bad thing.
What's the difference between Northwood, Hillsdale and Liberty Benton in the first round? It might not be much. All three teams look like they will finish the last two games 1-1, which likely wouldn't be enough to lift the Eagles from ninth to seventh or eighth. Neither Hillsdale nor Northwood are significantly better draws.
The second round, however, is a different story altogether.
Tinora (8-0), a small-school power from Defiance, will win their final two games and stay in fourth or fifth place going into the postseason. Regardless of their seed, the Rams could be even more dangerous than the teams in second and third, Archbold and Patrick Henry or Lima Central Catholic.
Tinora hasn't allowed a point since Week 2, a 37-18 win over Parkway. After a 20-0 win over Liberty Center (now 4-4) in Week 1, the Rams haven't scored fewer than 35 points in a game.
Put together by the numbers: They've outscore opponents 347-18 (averaging 43.4-2.2) this season, and 290-0 (48.3-0) Week 3 and onward.
The Rams are only No. 4 because they're playing a small-school schedule with five wins versus Division V schools and three versus Division VI with two Division VI games to go. Archbold and Patrick Henry play mostly Division V, IV and III schools in the Northern Ohio Athletic League.
I fell behind early in the Page 12 weekly picks this season. Week 3 was a disaster, as I went 8-7 (that's awful for high school games).
With some conservative play through the middle of the season, heading into the final two weeks I'm behind the leaders by two games with another couple prognosticators tied with me or a game ahead.
Time for a few riskier picks.
I knew that most of the others would take Sandusky over Napoleon. The unbalance of the picks and the relative closeness in the game made this a good catch-up pick. If I was in the lead, I'd probably have taken Sandusky to win.
I also need Margaretta to upset the Tigers in Huron to make up ground on current leader Scott Truxell.
And, if necessary (and if I'm still in contention), I have a few good ones picked out for Week 10.
Week 9 Predictions:
Margaretta 28, Huron 24
The Polar Bears started the season scoring an average of 31.7 points in their first four games, including a 41-12 loss to Western Reserve.
Margaretta then ran into Oak Harbor and Clyde in succession, scoring 19 points in two games. Since then, however, the Bears have found their offensive footing with 78 points over the last two games.
Their problem is on the defensive side of the ball -- In five games against teams with more than one win through eight weeks, the Bears have allowed 36.2 points per game, going 1-4. The good news is that they earned their first quality win of the season over Edison last week, 44-22.
Clyde 20, Oak Harbor 10
This is the first time that the Fliers and Rockets have met this decade both coming off of losses.
Clyde needs to clean up the turnovers that nearly cost them against Eastwood and did cost them against Perkins.
Oak Harbor is one of the top two teams that the Fliers will play in the regular season -- if Clyde can't stop the leaks against a solid Oak Harbor defense, the Fliers will fall in the Region 10 standings and end up with a tough road game in Week 11.
Last week's predictions:
Predicted: Sandusky 24, Marion Harding 17
Actual: Sandusky 21, Harding 7
With their quarterback out, Sandusky found stability in a solid ground attack. When the dust settled, Cordney Strickland (6-foot, 1-inch, 185 pounds had over 250 yards from scrimmage. The school record, however, was almost 90 yards out -- In 2004, Ron Pickens rushed for 347 yards against Lima Senior.
As far as area records go, no one is close to Dean Rosiar of Danbury, who ripped Lorain Catholic for 467 yards in 2001.
Predicted: Oak Harbor 17, Huron 10
Actual: Huron 32, Oak Harbor 26
As I said on the Week 8 postgame show, I was more surprised by how high the score was than by the Tigers' win.
Friday's 58 points combined between the two teams was more than any other Oak Harbor game this season. It was the most for Huron since their 43-25 loss to St. Paul in Week 3.
My fellow sportswriter at the Register, Mark Hazelwood, thought that the 27 total points was too high.