Three new seasons begin soon

COLUMBUS — A new season is starting for the Lisbon, South Range and Springfield Local football teams

All three area playoff-bound teams are ranked in the final Associated Press high school football poll released Monday.

Inter-Tri County League White Division champion Lisbon (9-1) returned to the Division VI state poll for the second straight season. The Blue Devils are ranked 14th after finishing 13th last year.

South Range (9-1) remains ninth in Division V, while Inter-Tri County League Red Division champion Springfield Local (8-2) dropped a spot to 1th in Division VI.

For South Range, it marks the eighth top nine state ranking in 15 years.

During the regular season, South Range beat Lisbon, 55-8, and then Springfield defeated South Range 34-27, in overtime.

It’s not surprising the three area playoff teams have the top three defensive squads in the area.

South Range leads the area in offensive scoring (42.0), defensive scoring (12.2) and point margin (+29.8).

Lisbon is second in all three — offensive scoring (40.3), defensive scoring (18.7) and point margin (+21.6).

Springfield’s defense ranks third in area, holding opponents to an average of 20.2 points a game.

Lisbon and Springfield are playing in one of the toughest regions around. Division VI, Region 21 includes five of the top 14 teams in the state poll.

Lisbon will play at 11th-ranked Louisville St. Thomas Aquinas (8-2), while Springfield entertains Columbia Station Columbia (7-3). Both games will kick off at 7:30 p.m. Friday.

Also in the region are second-ranked Cuyahoga Heights (10-0) and sixth-ranked Kirtland (9-1), a two-time defending state champion. Cuyahoga Heights defeated Springfield, 45-21, and Kirtland, 21-0, this season.

South Range takes on Garrettsville Garfield (7-3) in a Division V, Region 17 playoff opener.

Other ranked teams of local interest in the state poll are Northeastern Buckeye Conference champion Marlington (10-0) tied for fourth in Division III; Steubenville (9-1) in fifth, Youngstown Mooney (7-2) in 10th and Struthers (9-1) in 14th in Division IV; Warren JFK (9-1) in fourth, Mogadore (8-2) in eighth and Toronto (8-2) in 12th in Division VII.

Warren JFK will host Toronto in a playoff opener at 7 p.m. Saturday. Toronto is averaging 44. points a game, while Toronto is giving up just 6.9 points per game.