After the first seven games, the Wilmington High School football team will close with three difficult games.
And all three will go a long way in determining the champion of the South Central Ohio League as well as the playoff futures for several teams.
While Wilmington hosts Miami Trace this Friday night at Alumni Field, the Chillicothe Cavaliers will host the Clinton-Massie Falcons.
Wilmington, Clinton-Massie and Chillicothe are all 6-1 overall and 4-0 in the league.
Wilmington will face Clinton-Massie in week 9 and then Chillicothe in week 10. In all that’s a combined 17-4 record for the WHS foes over the next three weeks.
But Hurricane head coach Scott Killen isn’t taking a peak ahead. He knows without a win this week, those next two games won’t have the same luster.
“We can’t afford to look to week 9 without focusing on week 8 or it will mean nothing,” said Killen. “Our kids realize what kind of team Trace is and we are not looking past them at all.”
Kickoff at Alumni Field is set for 7:30 p.m. Friday.
The two SCOL rivals have had a hard-fought series in recent years. The two teams met in the 2005 playoffs but not during the regular season that year. Miami Trace won the playoff game 29-22.
Since then, they’ve faced each other in the regular season 10 times — Wilmington has won six and Miami Trace has won four. The Hurricane ended a two-game losing streak to the Panthers with a 38-14 win last season.
Wilmington is coming off a 58-22 win over Washington. The Hurricane offense, riding high, is averaging 540 yards per game over the last four contests.
“We played very well at times and then hit a slow spot where we took the foot off the gas a little and allowed them to take the momentum away from us,” said Killen. “We still need to be more consistent in the next three weeks to get to where we want to go.”
Trace is 5-2 overall and 2-2 in the league. The Panthers lost to Clinton-Massie, 24-14, and Chillicothe, 56-21. They are currently 11th in Region 11 playoff standings and could make the postseason with a strong finish.
“Trace is very fundamentally sound in all three phases and they are going to be our biggest test to date,” Killen said. “They have some athletes that can cause us problems if we aren’t locked into our assignment.”
Reach Mark Huber at 937-556-5765, or on Twitter @wnjsports