FOOTBALL PLAYOFFS Seven area teams have sealed spots for first round

Sixteen other area teams still have a chance to qualify for the postseason.
Seven Mahoning Valley teams are assured of spots in the OHSAA football playoffs, and 16 more are still in contention, as the final weekend of the regular season approaches.
Chaney, Warren Harding, Hubbard, Poland, South Range, Warren Kennedy and Crestview have clinched postseason berths, regardless of the outcomes of their games Friday night.
In fact, Hubbard (Division III), South Range, Kennedy and Crestview (all in Div. V) have clinched first-round home playoff games.
For Chaney in Div. II, Warren Harding in Div. I and Poland in Div. III (all with 8-1 records), victories this weekend should get them a home game in the regional quarterfinals.
For the other schools hoping for a call Sunday from the OHSAA tournament committee, it's a week of hand-wringing and numbers crunching.
To win: The first order of business for each, of course, is to win.
Southington (5-3) needs only a victory over Ashtabula Sts. John and Paul to assure itself of a spot in Div. VI.
For the other 15 schools, they must win their game and hope for help. For some, teams ranked ahead of them or just behind them must lose. For others, defeated opponents must win their games.
Boardman, for instance, will begin Friday's game against Austintown Fitch in fifth place in Div. I, Region 1.
If the Spartans win, they could vault all the way to first place; a loss could tumble them all the way to 11th.
Even a victory doesn't assure Boardman of a playoff game.
The same holds true for West Branch (Div. III), East Palestine (Div. IV) and Wellsville (Div. VI), who are all ranked in the top eight this week.
Need victory: Each must win to have a chance at the postseason, but also need help from a few teams on their heels to lose and their defeated opponents to come through with victories.
This will be Warren Kennedy's 12 appearance in the postseason, second-most for a Valley team behind Cardinal Mooney's 16.
Southington and East Palestine are vying for their first playoff berths.