High School Football: Cleveland Heights Hanging on to Playoff Hopes
Cleveland Heights still has a chance to make the playoffs, but the Tigers will need some help
Cleveland Heights’ and Shaker Heights’ playoff fates are intertwined, being ninth and 11th in Division I, Region 1. Both the Tigers and Red Raiders will likely need help, in addition to winning out, as they each lack opponents with winning records in Week 9 and 10 to give their computer points a huge boost.
Six of the eight teams currently in the playoffs are projected by Joe Eitel to have control of their own destiny — St. Edward, St. Ignatius, Willoughby South, North Royalton, Warren G. Harding and Mentor. Drew Pasteur’s simulations give all six of those schools a 100 percent chance to make the playoffs regardless of how many more games they win. Of those six, only two face one another in the remaining weeks — St. Edward and St. Ignatius.
That leaves two spots, currently occupied by No. 7 Austintown-Fitch and No. 8 North Olmsted, as the only potential openings in Region 1. Both should be favored in their remaining two games. The Falcons face Lake (2-6) and Cardinal Mooney (3-4). The Bulldogs remaining opponents (Amherst and Olmsted Falls) are a combined 3-13.
But even if they both win out the Tigers and Raiders can gain ground depending on what other teams on the Bulldogs and Falcons schedule do.
Austintown-Fitch is an independent that only lost to Massillon Washington, meaning the best-case scenario is the Falcons lose their remaining two games while the seven teams they’ve already beat lose. The Falcons did not defeat any of the same teams that the Tigers and Red Raiders did.
North Olmsted is a different matter because it plays in the West Shore Conference and every team plays one another. The Tigers and Red Raiders gain the most ground from two sets of teams, the first being the Bulldogs' non-conference opponents. Lakewood, North Ridgeville and Valley Forge losing out would hurt North Olmsted. But Shaker Heights also beat the Patriots, so losses by Valley Forge hurt the Red Raiders too.
The second set is the conference opponents the Bulldogs lost to — Avon Lake and Brecksville. If those teams win, it prevents the teams that North Olmsted beat from increasing their win totals and thus increasing the Bulldogs’ computer points total.
(While Brecksville is a long-shot Region 1 playoff team, its best-case points scenario (projected by Eitel) should it win out is barely better than the worst-case points scenario for Cleveland Heights.)
Because Cleveland Heights doesn't have any overlapping non-conference wins with Austintown-Fitch and North Olmsted, and is ranked just outside the playoffs at No. 9 as it is, Drew Pasteur gives the Tigers a 27 percent chance to make the postseason if they win their final two games. Shaker Heights’ chances were not listed, meaning they are less than two percent. The Red Raiders also need Euclid to struggle down the stretch as the Panthers are ranked 10th.