After Emerging with Playoff Wins, MAC Teams Face One of their Own

Staff Writer

The best small-school conference in Ohio is about to have its four remaining playoff football teams pared down to two.

The way the divisions shook out this year in Ohio high school football, the likelihood of the Midwest Athletic Conference continuing it runs of geting three different teams in three different divisions to state championship games unlikely.  It also meant a week like this one was probably inevitable — where four MAC teams remain in the playoffs and they square off in two playoff games this week.

A conference that prides itself on rooting for its fellow conference members to advance far into the playoffs are now in survival mode. It’s every team for itself.

The teams’ left? Dynastic sort of programs that have won a combined 23 state championships. Minster plays Delphos St. John’s at Wapakoneta in a Division VII regional title game while Coldwater and Marion Local play a massive Division VI tilt in Sidney on Friday.

Minster and Coldwater rallied improbably in the fourth quarter to win their games. Marion Local smothered Spencerville.

The Wildcats added yet another thrilling victory win to their playoff history with a comeback 35-32 win over Crestview on Friday night at Spartan Stadium in Lima when quarterback Jared Huelsman led the Wildcats back from a 13-point deficit. Huelsman scored a game-winning touchdown with with just over a minute left while the defense staved off a daring Crestview squad that didn’t attempt a game-tying field goal inside the 10 yard line on the final play.

St. John’s did what no other team could do this fall: slow down Lehman Catholic’s offense. The 14-7 win for the Blue Jays sets up a re-match with Minster. The Wildcats won the regular season match-up on September 8 by a healthy 41-14 margin.

After defeating of a pair of Allen County challenger in wildly different ways, the Marion Local Flyers and Coldwater Cavaliers will have their long-awaited playoff showdown. Coldwater, which down a division this past offseason and Marion Local which moved up a division making for a bottleneck of state powers in Region 24, will play for that regional crown on Friday at Sidney.

Coldwater advanced to the regional title game with a stunning 24-17 win over Lima Central Catholic. Coldwater overcame a 17-point second-half deficit and scored two touchdowns in the game’s final 33 seconds to stun the T-Birds. Marion Local narrowly got off a punt on the final play of the game and won the Week 3 regular season match-up against Coldwater, 13-7.