In Division VII Region 26, St. Paul (12-0) will again head west — but stop short of Fremont. The Flyers will face Pandora-Gilboa (10-2) at Clyde High School with a spot in the state semifinals on the line.
It is believed to be the first time the two schools have played each other. St. Paul is coming off a 45-7 win over Tiffin Calvert in Fremont last week. The Flyers opened with a 52-13 win vs. Haviland Wayne Trace on Nov. 3.
Meanwhile, Gilboa opened with a 15-13 win over Mohawk, then avenged a 49-27 loss on Oct. 20 to McComb by rolling past the Panthers in the second round, 28-9.
Friday’s game will be the 13th regional championship in program history for St. Paul — all coming in a 22-year span dating back to 1996. The Flyers are 7-5 all-time in regional title games, and one more victory will be their 40th playoff win.
In Div. IV, Bellevue (9-3) will get its second straight rematch from a regular season game when it faces longtime opponent Shelby (12-0) in the Region 14 championship game at Community Stadium at Ashland High School.
The Whippets, one of the favorites in Div. IV since the preseason, beat the Redmen by a 46-0 score in Week 4 in Shelby on Sept. 15.
Bellevue enters the game coming off a 21-13 win vs. Clear Fork in Mansfield. The Colts had beaten the Redmen in Week 2 on Sept. 1 by a 20-14 score in overtime — but this time it was Bellevue pulling out the close game. The Redmen opened the playoffs with a 34-6 win at Pepper Pike Orange on Nov. 3.
Also of note, Olmsted Falls (11-1) will rematch with Avon (12-0) in the Div. II Region 6 championship game at North Ridgeville. The Bulldogs are coached by Tom DeLuca, a 1999 Norwalk graduate, and have pulled out a pair of improbable wins to date.
In the first round, Olmsted Falls used a halfback pass in the final minute to rally past Midview at home. Then over the weekend, the Bulldogs again rallied and scored with 3:21 left to knock off unbeaten Wadsworth (21-20) and its Mr. Football candidate at quarterback, Joey Baughman.
Like Shelby and Bellevue, Avon already beat Olmsted Falls in the regular season, 31-7 in Week 2 on Sept. 1.
The Div. III Region 10 championship game will be played at Strobel Field at Cedar Point Stadium in Sandusky. In that matchup, Toledo Central Catholic (10-2) squares off with Bay Village Bay (12-0).
All games will kickoff at 7:30 p.m.
OHSAA football playoffs
Regional championship pairings
First team listed is the home team. All games played at 7:30 p.m. Friday.
Region 1: (1) Cleveland St. Ignatius (11-1) vs. (3) Mentor (11-1) at Bedford Bearcat Stadium
Region 2: (1) Toledo Whitmer (12-0) vs. (2) Powell Olentangy Liberty (10-2) at Findlay Donnell Stadium
Region 3: (5) Pickerington North (10-2) vs. (3) Pickerington Central (11-1) at Cols. St. Francis DeSales Alumni Stadium
Region 4: (1) Cincinnati St. Xavier (11-1) vs. (2) Cincinnati Colerain (10-2) at Mason Dwire Field at Atrium Stadium
Region 5: (1) Akron Archbishop Hoban (11-1) vs. (2) Barberton (12-0) at Green Memorial Stadium
Region 6: (1) Avon (12-0) vs. (3) Olmsted Falls (11-1) at North Ridgeville Ranger Stadium
Region 7: (5) New Albany (8-4) vs. (2) Massillon Washington (9-3) at Mansfield Senior Arlin Field
Region 8: (1) Cincinnati La Salle (10-2) vs. (2) Cincinnati Winton Woods (11-1) at Cin. Withrow Angus King Stadium
Region 9: (1) Canfield (12-0) vs. (6) Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary (9-3) at Salem Reilly Stadium
Region 10: (1) Toledo Central Catholic (10-2) vs. (2) Bay Village Bay (12-0) at Sandusky Strobel Field, Cedar Point Stadium
Region 11: (5) Dresden Tri-Valley (11-1) vs. (3) Cols. Bishop Hartley (11-1) at Newark Paul “Hoss” Starr Stadium at White Field
Region 12: (1) Trotwood-Madison (12-0) vs. (7) Day. Chaminade Julienne (9-3) at Riverside Stebbins Edmundson Stadium
Region 13: (1) Steubenville (12-0) vs. (2) Perry (12-0) at Niles McKinley Bo Rein Stadium
Region 14: (5) Bellevue (9-3) vs. (2) Shelby (12-0) at Ashland Community Stadium
Region 15: (5) New Concord John Glenn (10-2) vs. (7) Duncan Falls Philo (9-3) at Zanesville Sulsberger Stadium
Region 16: (4) Clarksville Clinton-Massie (11-1) vs. (2) Cin. Wyoming (12-0) at Lakota West Firebird Field
Region 17: (1) Canfield South Range (12-0) vs. (3) Sullivan Black River (11-1) at Canal Fulton Northwest Dr. Martin Smilek Stadium/Jim Schalmo Field
Region 18: (1) Pemberville Eastwood (12-0) vs. (2) Marion Pleasant (10-1) at Lima Senior Spartan Stadium
Region 19: (1) Wheelersburg (12-0) vs. (3) Johnstown-Monroe (10-2) at Chillicothe Herrnstein Stadium
Region 20: 5 West Jefferson (11-0) vs. (2) Middletown Madison (10-2) at Beavercreek Frank Zink Field at Miami Valley Hospital Stadium
Region 21: (1) Rootstown (12-0) vs. 3 Kirtland (12-0) at Solon Stewart Field
Region 22: (1) Findlay Liberty-Benton (11-1) vs. (6) Jeromesville Hillsdale (9-3) at Tiffin Frost-Kalnow Stadium
Region 23: (1) Nelsonville-York (12-0) vs. (3) Coal Grove Dawson-Bryant (11-1) at Jackson Holzer Field at Alumni Stadium
Region 24: (4) Coldwater (9-3) vs. (2) Maria Stein Marion Local (12-0) at Sidney Memorial Stadium
Region 25: (1) Dalton (12-0) vs. (2) Cuyahoga Heights (10-1) at North Canton Hoover Memorial Stadium
Region 26: (1) Norwalk St. Paul (12-0) vs. (3) Pandora-Gilboa (10-2) at Clyde Robert J. Bishop Jr. Stadium
Region 27: (1) Danville (11-1) vs. (6) Hannibal River (8-4) at Zanesville Maysville Athletic Complex
Region 28: (4) Minster (8-4) vs. (3) Delphos St. John’s (8-4) at Wapakoneta Harmon Field