CJ, Al­ter face GCL bat­tles

Games with plenty of league and play­off im­pli­ca­tions sched­uled over fi­nal weeks.

Dayton Daily News - - SPORTS - By Marc Pendle­ton Staff Writer

Al­ter (6-1), Cham­i­nade Juli­enne (5-2), Hamil­ton Badin (5-2) and Cincin­nati McNi­cholas (5-2) all have some­thing more in com­mon than hav­ing great high school football sea­sons.

All are in the Greater Catholic League Co-Ed Di­vi­sion in which cross­over games count as divi

sional play. All will play each other in the fi­nal three weeks of the reg­u­lar sea­son. Most im­por­tant, all are in Di­vi­sion III, Re­gion 12.

That means league ti­tles and play­off hopes are at stake.

“You’re play­ing for your play­off life right now,” as­sured CJ coach Mar­cus Colvin. “We all have a chance to win a GCL cham­pi­onship. It’s a great chal­lenge and we look forward to it.”

That back-loaded, reg­u­lar-sea­son chal­lenge revs up with Week 8 games. To­day, Al­ter is at Badin and on Satur­day, CJ is at McNick (1 p.m.). In Week 9, Al­ter plays McNick at Fair­mont and Badin is at CJ. Fi­nally, in Week 10, Al­ter is at CJ and Badin at McNick.

Whichever team gets through that with­out a loss will rocket up Re­gion 12. Al­ter at No. 5 cur­rently is in the best po­si­tion and McNick is No. 6. CJ can do no bet­ter than No. 12 and Badin is No. 17. The top eight ad­vance to the play­offs.

This wasn’t un­ex­pected for D-III, Re­gion 12. A di­vi­sional ad­just­ment due to com­pet­i­tive bal­ance loaded this re­gion with high-end pro­grams. Trot­wood-Madi­son (7-0) is No. 1 and also No. 1 in the state.

CJ has taken the most un­likely path to get into con­tention for a league ti­tle and play­off spot. Like last year, the Ea­gles were taken out by un­beaten Mar­ion Lo­cal and Mi­amis­burg in Weeks 1-2. But un­like last sea­son CJ has re­sponded with five straight mostly blowout wins.

“We took it on the chin, but you learn a lot about your­self,” Colvin said. “Even in a loss, we found a way to get bet­ter.”

With a mostly un­der­class lineup, CJ stag­gered to 2-8 two years ago. Now, those start­ing sopho­mores are sea­soned se­niors. That in­cludes quar­ter­back Ryan Peltier and line­backer Rocky Stark. Peltier has thrown for more than 1,000 yards and has over­seen an of­fense that has scored 218 points dur­ing the win streak.

CJ’s lead­ing tack­ler, Stark an­chors the de­fense and gets a ma­jor as­sist from ju­nior Shane Cokes, a re­cruitable 6-foot-3, 212-pound ham­mer at de­fen­sive end. “He’s mad that the teams don’t run to him any­more,” Colvin said. “If you want to be good you’ve got to tackle the run and they re­ally help us do that.”

Al­ter and CJ are in the North Di­vi­sion, Badin and McNick in the Cen­tral. Di­vi­sional ti­tles likely won’t be de­cided un­til Week 10. Last year Al­ter blew out CJ’s fiveg­ame win streak in the reg­u­lar-sea­son fi­nale, 51-3.

“We’re all in the same boat (D-III, Re­gion 12) and we’re all bat­tling the same fight right now,” Colvin said. “We all have to play each other to see who’s go­ing to get (into the play­offs). It’s go­ing to be an ex­cit­ing last three weeks. It’s a great chal­lenge and we look forward to it.”

■ All four Greater Western Ohio Con­fer­ence di­vi­sional ti­tles likely won’t be se­cured un­til af­ter Week 10 games. How­ever, Troy (5-2, 2-0) is at Sid­ney (7-0, 2-0) to­day in a matchup that will greatly im­pact the Amer­i­can North Di­vi­sion.

Troy has mounted a fourgame win streak and has lost only to Trot­wood in the opener and Belle­fontaine (6-1), the Cen­tral Buck­eye Con­fer­ence’s best team. Fu­eled by power back Isa­iah Bowser, Sid­ney has dodged Pi­qua (34-33) and Tippeca­noe (49-42) the last two weeks.

Bowser is among the state’s lead­ing rush­ers and should be in con­tention as Ohio’s Mr. Football. He needs 100 yards to hit 2,000 and has 24 touch­downs. Com­mit­ted to North­west­ern Univer­sity, the se­nior put a sea­son-high 413 yards rush­ing and six touch­downs on Xe­nia in Week 4.

■ The GWOC Na­tional East will fur­ther shake it­self out this week. Like those GCL Co-Ed ri­vals, all five East teams are in D-I, Re­gion 3 and own a com­bined 28-7 record. Beaver­creek (5-2) is at Spring­field (5-2) and Fair­mont (6-1) hosts Wayne (5-2) to­day. Centerville (7-0) has a cross­over game at North­mont (5-2), which has lost only to un­beaten Win­ton Woods and Wayne in dou­ble-over­time.

■ Xe­nia’s first win last week — 28-14 at Steb­bins — had spe­cial mean­ing for coach Trace Smither­man. He re­signed at Steb­bins to suc­ceed Bob DeLong at Xe­nia last spring. West Car­roll­ton (1-6) vis­its Xe­nia (1-6) to­day. Steb­bins (0-7) is at Trot­wood (7-0).

■ Min­ster (3-4) is a great ex­am­ple of ben­e­fit­ing from strength of sched­ule. The Wild­cats are ranked No. 6 in D-VII, Re­gion 28 de­spite hav­ing lost four straight games. But that skid is de­ceiv­ing: Two of those de­feats are by a com­bined two points and Min­ster played Mar­ion Lo­cal within 14 points.

Await­ing Min­ster are New Bre­men (3-4), Ver­sailles (3-4) and Anna (6-1) in Mid­west Ath­letic Con­fer­ence play. A cou­ple of wins should be enough to land Min­ster in the post­sea­son. The Wild­cats won a D-VI state ti­tle in 2014 and were a D-VII state run­ner-up last sea­son.

■ St. Henry (5-2) also is fight­ing for its D-VI, re­gion 24 play­off life. The Red­skins have lost only to Cold­wa­ter and Anna by a com­bined five points. Mar­ion Lo­cal (7-0) must get past Fort Re­cov­ery (4-3), St. Henry and Park­way (1-6) to win a rare un­beaten and out­right MAC ti­tle.

MARC PENDLE­TON / STAFF

“You’re play­ing for your play­off life right now,” says Cham­i­nade Juli­enne coach Mar­cus Colvin.

MARC PENDLE­TON / STAFF 2015

CJ QB Ryan Peltier has thrown for more than 1,000 yards this sea­son.

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