HUNTINGTON — Fairland, Ironton, Gallia Academy and Wheelersburg are barred from playing football next week and they’re happy about it.
The Dragons (4-1), Fighting Tigers (5-0), Blue Devils (4-1) and Pirates (4-1) received byes in the first round of the Ohio high school football playoffs. Pairings were released Thursday.
“I believe we deserve a bye in the first round,” Fairland coach Melvin Cunningham said. “With our resume, we’ve beaten more Division V teams than anyone in our region in Division VI. Our only loss (47-43 at Gallia Academy) was to a good team two divisions larger than us. Our numbers speak volumes. I feel like we’re a pretty good football team when we’re healthy.”
Apparently, so did the other coaches in the region. Seedings were determined by their votes.
The Dragons are seeded third in Region 23 and could meet a familiar foe at 7 p.m. Oct. 10 at home in the second round. Fairland will play the winner of No. 14 Rock Hill (2-3) and No. 19 Crooksville (1-3). The Dragons and Redmen meet in the regular-season finale at 7 p.m. Friday in Pedro, Ohio.
Fort Frye (5-0) is the top seed, a position Cunningham agreed with.
“I voted Fort Frye No. 1,” Cunningham said. “I think they’re the best team in our region. They deserve to be there.”
No. 2 seed Centerburg, No. 4 Worthington Christian, No. 5 Barnesville, No. 6 Nelsonville-York and No. 7 Sarahsville Shenendoah joined Fairland and Fort Frye in receiving a pass in the first round.
Coal Grove (2-2) is seeded 10th and will play host to No. 23 Grandview Heights (0-5) at 7 p.m. Oct. 10 in the first round, The winner plays at Sarahsville Shenedoah at 7 p.m. Oct. 17.
Symmes Valley (4-1) is seeded 11th and will entertain No. 22 Southeastern (1-4) at 7 p.m. Oct. 10 in the first round. The victor plays at Nelsonville-York at 7 p.m. Oct. 17.
Ironton (5-0) is No. 1 in Division V, Region 19. The Fighting Tigers were joined by No. 2 West Lafayette Ridgewood, No. 3 Wheelersburg, No. 4 Gahanna Columbus Academy, No. 5 Canal Winchester Harvest Prep, No. 6 Columbus Hartley and No. 7 Baltimore Liberty Union in receiving a first-round bye. At 7 p.m. Oct. 17, Ironton will play host to the winner of No. 16 New Lexington (3-2) and No. 17 Williamsport Westfall (3-1).
No. 19 Chesapeake (2-3) visits No. 14 Portsmouth West (3-2) at 7 p.m. Oct. 10 in a playoff opener. The winner goes to Wheelersburg at 7 p.m. Oct. 17.
South Point (0-5) is seeded 24th and will play at No. 9 Wellston (3-2) at 7 p.m. Oct. 10. The winner plays at 7 p.m. Oct. 17 vs. either No. 7 Johnstown-Monroe (3-2) or No. 25 Utica (0-5).
No. 15 Oak Hill (2-3) plays host to No. 18 Meigs (2-3) at 7 p.m. Oct. 10. The victor plays at West Lafayette Ridgewood (5-0) at 7 p.m. Oct. 17.
No. 22 Portsmouth (0-5) visits No. 11 Northwest (4-1) at 7 p.m. Oct. 10. The winner goes to Columbus Ready (3-2) at 7 p.m. Oct. 17.
In Division IV, Region 15, Gallia Academy is seeded fifth. The Blue Devils joined No. 1 St. Clairsville, No. 2 Newark Licking Valley, No. 3 Carroll Bloom-Carroll, No. 4 Byesville Meadowbrook and No. 6 Columbus Marion-Franklin in receiving first-round passes. At 7 p.m. on Oct. 17, Gallia Academy will play the winner of the first-round game featuring No. 12 Vinton County (3-2) and No. 21 Belmont Union Local (1-4).
Local teams Green, River Valley and South Gallia opted out of the playoffs.