Lisbon gets St. Thomas Aquinas first

 

It’s the final playoff stage for the Inter-Tri County League and three area ITCL teams will try to make a lasting impact for the league.

The ITCL White Division champion Lisbon, the Red Division champion Springfield and South Range, all advanced to the playoffs and will have significant tests ahead of them for this weekend.

In Div. VI, Region 21, fifth-seeded Lisbon (9-1) will hit the road for a 7:30 p.m. Friday contest at fourth-seed Louisville St. Thomas Aquinas (8-2).

Due to St. Thomas facing Warren JFK on Saturday night, the Blue Devils and most of Region 21 did not know their first round opponent until after that game.

“The 1 and 8 game was set, the rest of us were waiting on that game because it set the rest of the seeds for the whole region,” Lisbon coach Jim Tsilimos said. “We only got around to watching tape (on Sunday), so we’re all a little behind in that regard.”

The Knights had won six straight games before dropping the season finale to Warren JFK. St. Thomas’s other loss was to Northeastern Buckeye Conference champion Marlington (10-0).

“”It’s going to be an uphill battle for us,” Tsilimos said. “But it’s been that way and we’re used to it.”

Also in Div. VI, Region 21, second-seed Springfield (8-2) will host seventh-seed Columbia Station Columbia (8-2) at 7:30 p.m. on Friday.

After losing back-to-back games to Cuyahoga Heights, the top-seed in Region 21, and McDonald, Springfield rebounded with seven straight wins to close out the season.

“Early in the season we were working on some new stuff and had some injuries,” Springfield coach Sean Guerriero said. “The more reps we got, the better we got and that is what the kids have been doing all season.”

Columbia, from Lorain County, has only missed the playoffs once this decade.

“They’re a good team with a good tradition as of late,” Guerriero said.

The Region 21 winner has had a good track record as Kirtland has made it to the Div. VI final the last three years winning twice. The Hornets are the second-seed this time and will host Dalton on Friday. The Dalton-Kirtland winner gets the Springfield-Columbia winner in the next round.

In Div. V, Region 17, South Range (9-1) had no equal. The Raiders earned the top-seed by nearly four Harbin computer points over the second-seed, Grand Valley (9-1). South Range, with its only loss coming to rival Springfield, will host Garrettsville Garfield’s G-Men (7-3) at 7 p.m. on Saturday.

It is believed that will be the final South Range football home game to be played at Memorial Stadium, located behind the old South Range High School in North Lima. The South Range school district has plans in place to begin playing home games at the new stadium across the street from the current high school next season.

Despite winning the ITCL Blue Division, Western Reserve missed out on the playoffs in Div. VI. Jackson-Milton (7-3) will be the ITCL Blue Division’s only representative in the playoffs and will travel to Mogadore (8-2) on Saturday for a Region 25 contest. Toronto (8-2) will have a significant test in Div. VII, Region 25 as it travels to Warren JFK on Saturday.

Marlington earned the top seed in Div. III, Region 9 and will host upstart Akron East at 7 p.m. on Saturday.

Struthers (9-1) won the All-American Conference White Tier, but will have to hit the road for its Div. IV, Region 13 game with Woodridge on Friday. A tasty Youngstown-area matchup between Hubbard and Cardinal Mooney is also on the slate for Friday in that region.

Indian Creek (8-2) won the Buckeye 8 Athletic League North Division, but unfortunately its reward is a Div. IV, Region 15 game at next-door neighboor Steubenville (9-1) on Friday.

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