HAMLER — As week nine approaches, the NWOAL race is very clear. Only Archbold controls their own destiny while the rest fight to keep their hopes alive.
Wauseon will have their shot at taking down the Bluestreaks this week and that will get its own preview but for teams like Patrick Henry and Liberty Center, a loss almost surely knocks them out of contention.
For Delta and Bryan, they continue to fight for playoff positioning at the bottom of their respective regions.
Here is the outlook in week nine of NWOAL football:
DELTA AT PATRICK HENRY
Delta is fighting for their playoff lives as they currently hold the No. 14 spot in Division VI, Region 22. They’ll get a Patrick Henry team that is currently enduring a two-game slide with losses to Wauseon and Archbold.
Delta (4-4, 2-3 NWOAL) has yet to defeat any of the top five NWOAL foes as their lone two conference wins come against Swanton and Evergreen who have both yet to see a conference victory this season.
But it won’t get easier for the Panthers, as Patrick Henry (5-3, 3-2 NWOAL), is searching to put themselves back on the right track and keep themselves with any shred of hope of sharing a league title as Archbold meets Wauseon this week.
The Patriots are currently No. 11 in Division VII Region 26 and are led by quarterback Nash Meyer who has 1,802 yards and 14 touchdowns on 145-of-215 for the season. His leading receiver is Landon Johnson who has hauled in 48 passes for 654 yards and seven touchdowns.
On the other side, it is quite the opposite philosophy as the Panthers will look to run the ball behind Joshua Tresnan-Reighard who leads the team with 596 yards rushing and 10 touchdowns on 107 carries.
The Patriots have held the Panthers’ number over the last ten seasons going 8-2. Delta won last year’s meeting however 7-0.
LIBERTY CENTER AT EVERGREEN
Liberty Center will hope to move up and solidify a home game in the state playoffs while also keeping themselves alive in the NWOAL title hunt in an away matchup with Evergreen.
The Tigers (6-2, 4-1 NWOAL), have won three straight NWOAL contests since falling to Archbold in week five. That includes a 28-18 home victory over Patrick Henry last week. They currently sit in the No. 6 spot in Division VI, Region 22.
Their rushing attack is the main focus as always with Teejay Moore (92 att., 560 yds., 8 TDs) and Matthew Orr (122 att., 738 yds., 13 TDs) leading the way.
But the Tigers have implemented their quarterback Zane Zeiter more and more into their offense this year. He ran for 117 yards last week against Patrick Henry while also catching an eight-yard pass as well.
Evergreen (2-6, 0-5 NWOAL) is still searching for their first league victory after a 45-14 loss to Bryan last week.
The Vikings are led by their quarterback Payton Boucher who put up a two-touchdown, 136-yard effort last week in the loss.
Liberty Center is currently on a 10-game win streak over the Vikings, with Evergreen’s last victory over the Tigers coming back in 2010.
SWANTON AT BRYAN
Bryan still finds themselves on the outside looking in for the playoffs in Division IV, Region 14. They currently sit in the No. 18 position but they won’t get many points with a win this week as Swanton comes into the game without a win.
The Bulldogs (0-8, 0-5 NWOAL) are coming off a 56-0 loss to Archbold last week and have been shut out in three straight contests.
Bryan (4-4, 2-3 NWOAL) is coming off of a 45-14 win over Evergreen in which Korbin Shepherd carried the ball 30 times for 170 yards and two touchdowns. The Golden Bears were also able to have some success the air as receiver Sam Herold caught five passes for 143 yards and two touchdowns.
The Golden Bears will look to continue their recent success over the Bulldogs as they are 8-2 over the last ten seasons and have won four-straight matchups.