A preview of every local soccer game from Week 8:
Game of the Week: Ashland (4-3, 2-2 OCC) at West Holmes (7-0, 4-0)
Since 2006, no one has won a part of the Ohio Cardinal Conference more times than Ashland, who has eight league titles during that time. The Arrows have been consistent winners, producing talented teams that are also hard to match.
But those past championships won’t matter when they step onto the field against West Holmes, who is the heavy favorite to win a third straight OCC title.
The Knights are rolling and looking just as good as last year’s regional championship team, if not better. They’ve won 19 straight regular-season games, and that streak has the potential to grow considerably.
In the past week: Mansfield Senior 27, Ashland 20; West Holmes 48, Lexington 14
Playoff Image: Ashland, No. 16 in Region 6 (Div. II), 83% playoff chance (all playoff percentages according to Drew Pasteur’s Fantastic 50 projections), can clinch the win; West Holmes, No. 3 in Region 14 (Div. IV), clinched a playoff spot
Panorama: West Holmes has one of the most explosive offenses in the state and a defense to match, scoring 48.1 points while allowing just 8.9 points per game. Sam Williams-Dixon and Kyle Maltarich are the offensive headliners, but Logan Zollars has broken out recently, giving the Knights another receiver with game-breaking speed. Ashland has some good skill talent, led by wide receiver Landon McFrederick, but keeping up with the Knights will be a tall order.
Smithville (5-2, 2-2 WCAL) at Northwest (5-2, 3-1 WCAL)
In the past week: Hillsdale 28, Smithville 21 (OT); Dalton 34, Northwest 14
Playoff Image: Smithville, No. 13 in Region 17 (Div. V), 98% chance of playoffs, can clinch victory; Northwest, No. 5 in Region 22 (Div. VI), secured a playoff spot
Panorama: Neither of these teams is used to losing in 2022, but both are coming off heavy losses in Week 7. Smithville went blow for blow with Hillsdale on the rise, while Northwestern played its most lopsided game of the season in a 20-point loss to Dalton. Both will be hungry for a rebound. The Huskies’ talent at the skill positions gives them an edge as they try to stay alive in what has become the craziest Wayne County Athletic League title race in years.
Wooster (4-3, 3-2 OCC) at Mansfield Senior (5-2, 3-1 OCC)
In the past week: Wooster 48, Madison 0; Mansfield Senior 27, Ashland 20
Playoff Image: Wooster, No. 16 in Region 7 (Div. II), 79% chance of playoffs; Mansfield Senior, No. 4 in Region 10 (Div. III), secured a playoff spot
Panorama: This has been one of the best games on the Ohio Cardinal Conference schedule lately, and it’s a good bet both teams have scored it this year. A win over Senior would give the Generals a huge boost heading into the final stretch of the season, which still features tough games against Ashland and Villa Angela-St. Joseph. However, the Tygers will be a tough matchup. They have top athletes all over the field and they will force Wooster to play without mistakes to stay in the game. Senior’s only losses are to powerhouses Massillon and West Holmes.
Chippewa (2-5, 1-3 WCAL) at Norway (5-2, 3-1 WCAL)
In the past week: Chippewa 27, Rittman 14; Norway 48, Waynedale 16
Playoff Image: Chippewa, No. 16 in Region 21 (Div. VI), 4% playoff chance; Norwayne, No. 4 in Region 17 (Div. V), clinched a playoff spot
Panorama: Norwayne returned to a tie for first place in the WCAL with Dalton’s victory over Northwestern last week, and he will look to keep it that way. Norwayne’s offensive weapons spearheaded by Jake Gill, Elijah Stanley, Jay Hanzie and Roman Portis have been too much for most of the WCAL and will be hard for Chippewa to stop as well.
Dalton (5-2, 3-1 WCAL) at Rittman (2-5, 0-4 WCAL)
In the past week: Dalton 34, Northwest 14; Chippewa 27, Rittman 14
Playoff Image: Dalton, No. 4 in Region 21 (Div. VI), clinched a playoff spot; Rittman, No. 23 in Region 21 (Div. VI), 1% playoff chance
Panorama: The Bulldogs are coming off their biggest win of the season and will try to build on it with a Week 9 matchup with Norwayne looming. Rittman will look to stay competitive as he continues to build his program, but the ‘Dawgs are tough in all three phases and should dominate the line of scrimmage.
Waynedale (2-5, 1-3 WCAL) at Hillsdale (4-3, 3-1 WCAL)
In the past week: Norwayne 48, Waynedale 16; Hillsdale 28, Smithville 21 (OT)
Playoff Image: Waynedale, No. 22 in Region 17 (Div. V), 2% playoff chance; Hillsdale, No. 6 in Region 25 (Div. VII), clinched a playoff spot
Panorama: The longest winning streak in the WCAL belongs to Hillsdale, coming off impressive wins over Dalton and Smithville. The Falcons have a good shot at four straight wins, but the Golden Bears are also beginning to play more complete football. Hillsdale won’t do anything too flashy, but he plays solid defense and his offensive misdirection is hard to plan for.
Orrville (3-4, 2-2 PAC-7) at CVCA (5-2, 3-1 PAC-7)
In the past week: Orrville 45, Tuslaw 20; Northwest 29, CVCA 28 (OT)
Playoff Image: Orrville, No. 19 in Region 17 (Div. V), 12% playoff chance; CVCA, No. 6 in Region 9 (Div. III), secured a playoff spot
Panorama: Orrville’s offense is playing its best football in the last two seasons, scoring 40 or more points in three of its last five games. But CVCA’s defense is one of the best units the Red Riders have faced, allowing only six points against Triway a few weeks ago. Royals star Kyle Snider has rushed for 200 or more yards four times this year, but has been dealing with an injury that limited him to just one carry last week.
Northwest (5-2, 3-1 PAC-7) at Triway (4-3, 2-2 PAC-7)
In the past week: Northwest 29, CVCA 28 (OT); Trivia 31, Northwest 8
Playoff Image: Northwest, No. 3 in Region 13 (Div. IV), clinched a playoff spot; Triway, No. 10 in Region 17 (Div. V), 98% playoff chance, can clinch the win
Panorama: The Triway season hasn’t been as easy without star QB Zack Miller, who has missed time in recent weeks due to injury. The Titans still have the potential to play the teams atop the Athletic Directors Conference and could play spoiler in what remains an open PAC-7 race.
Tuslaw (3-4, 1-3 PAC-7) at Canton South (5-2, 3-1 PAC-7)
In the past week: Orrville 45, Tuslaw 20; South Canton
Playoff Image: Tuslaw, No. 18 in Region 21 (Div. VI), 1% playoff chance; Canton South, No. 7 in Region 13 (Div. IV), secured a playoff spot
Panorama: Tuslaw’s defense has struggled against PAC-7 opponents, with Orrville, Triway and Northwest putting 40 or more points on the board against the Mustangs. Led by star QB Poochie Snyder, the Wildcats have been the highest scoring team in the conference, making Friday perhaps the toughest matchup of the year so far for Tuslaw.
Loudonville (3-4, 1-3 KMAC) at Cardington-Lincoln (1-6, 0-4 KMAC)
In the past week: Loudonville 38, Fredericktown 35; Danville 28, Cardington-Lincoln 20
Playoff Image: Loudonville, No. 11 in Region 23 (Div. VI), clinched a playoff spot; Cardington-Lincoln, No. 23 in Region 23 (Div. VI), 1% playoff chance
Panorama: The Redbirds finally got their first win as a member of the Knox Morrow Athletic Conference last week, with Zach Frankford making plays all over the field to lead the way. Once again he will be one of the best players on the field against a Cardington-Lincoln team that is better than his record, evidenced by a one-touchdown loss to Danville 6-1 last week.