CLEVELAND — We're down to the final week of Ohio's high school football regular season, and with the playoffs looming, several Northeast Ohio teams seem primed for state title runs.
Much of the chatter has centered around Medina, which is in the midst of perhaps its best season ever. Statewide pundits are taking notice, with the Battling Bees now No. 1 in Ohio's Division I Associated Press poll.
Medina is 9-0 for the first time in program history, and has also clinched at least a share of its first conference championship since 1973. Leading the charge is quarterback Drew Allar, a Penn State commit who has thrown for more touchdowns than anyone in Medina County history. He tossed five more (tying his own career-best mark) in a 70-7 thumping of winless Lorain last Friday.
Allar's stock began to rise during last year's playoffs, when the Bees upset both St. Edward and St. Ignatius on a magical run to the regional finals. The Eagles had been ranked first in the state for much of the season, but are now No. 3 following a heartbreaking overtime loss to Archbishop Moeller on Saturday. They still have a chance to grab the top spot in Region 1's computer rankings, but must beat Archbishop Hoban this weekend in Akron.
Not to be outdone, two other area schools top their respective AP rankings. Over in Division III, defending state champion Chardon is a near-unanimous No. 1 following a dominating 59-13 win over a tough Willoughby South squad. The Hilltoppers have won 21 in a row dating back to last season, and are currently in the driver's season to be the first seed in Region 9.
But when it comes to winning streaks, no one in America (literally) is currently better than Kirtland, the unanimous No. 1 D-V team. The Hornets crushed Ashtabula Edgewood 49-0 Friday night for their 49th consecutive victory, giving them the longest active run in the nation and tying the third-longest streak in Ohio history. Tiger LaVerde's crew is seeking its fourth straight state title, which would put them in rare company in football lore.
Benedictine had also been ranked No. 1 in Division II, but has slipped to No. 5 after losing to Hoban 28-10. The Knights climbed up to No. 3.
Other local schools currently ranked include:
- Granger Highland (8-1) - No. 6 in D-II
- Avon (7-2) - No 8 in D-II
- Barberton (8-1) - No. 9 in D-II
- Hudson (8-1) - No. 10 in D-II
- West Holmes (9-0) - No. 4 in D-III
- Dover (8-0) - No. 5 in D-III
- Norton (8-0) - No. 6 in D-III
- Kenston (8-1) - No. 8 in D-III
- Aurora (7-2) - No. 10 in D-III
- Bellevue (8-1) - Tied for No. 7 in D-IV
- Villa Angela-St. Joseph (6-1) - No. 10 in D-IV
- Garaway (9-0) - No. 6 in D-V
- Garrettsville Garfield (9-0) - No. 7 in D-V
- Weller Crestview (9-0) - No. 5 in D-VI
- St. Paul (7-1) - No. 6 in D-VII
- Lucas (7-1) - No. 8 in D-VII