Was there a shift in power in Ohio High School Football by the end of week nine? That is the question being asked by many as state power Cleveland St. Ignatius, the AP's #1 team went down in defeat to Cincinnati St. Xavier.
The team from the Queen City came into the game having seen any hopes of a playoff run go by the wayside after losing three straight games within the GCL. After starting the season 4 - 0 the Bombers lost to Moeller, La Salle and 2002 State Champion Elder before heading to Cleveland for its showdown with the Wildcats.
Ignatius came into the game with a perfect mark after their big win against rival St. Ed's in week 8. Did the Wildcats take the Bombers too lightly? Only they know, but many feel that the power in the state has been taking a swing back towards the SW with last years DI & DII Champion coming from that part of the state.
The St. Xavier win wasn't the only big win posted by the SW on the weekend. Cincinnati Moeller played host to St. Edward and posted the second big win on the day. The Crusaders who started the season with back-to-back loses to Anderson and St. Xavier (Louisville, Ky) have seen improved play and its only other loss to rival Elder in week seven. The 17 - 14 victory moves the Crusaders into a nice position in terms of getting into the playoffs. With one week remaining the Crusaders will see their biggest test in the final week as Princeton, "The most surprising team in Cincinnati", comes in with dreams of making the playoffs in Coach Brian Dodds first season. A loss to the Vikings could see the Crusaders sitting at home during the playoffs.
If you add in the victory of Dayton CJ last week at Massillon, you see the trend that many in Southwest Ohio have been talking about. The Northeast doesn't have the best football in Ohio. Will the results of week 9 bring another title to Southwest Ohio? We all will know in six weeks when a champion is crowned. But all season OPS has felt the best team in NE Ohio was Warren Harding , with many other teams in both the SW and NE fighting for spots in the OPS Top 10.
Stay with OPS for more on week 10 and the playoffs of 2003.