Gridiron Glory week six game predictions

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Welcome back to the Gridiron Glory game predictions! The streak of correctly predicted games ended last week with an instant classic between Waverly and Portsmouth West, but hopefully, we can start a new streak this week. It was a week of matchups like that last week as Waterford eked out a win hosting Eastern, Sheridan shut down John Glenn, Fort Frye snuck past Warren, Gallia Academy continued to roll, and Meigs finally put one in the win column. This week, we will see fireworks in our game of the week, two teams look to rescue their season, the MVL Super Bowl marches closer, a playoff showdown gets a rematch, and a rivalry sees its final chapter. All that and more in this week’s slate of games.

(5-0, 2-0) Gallia Academy @ Fairland (4-1, 1-1)

Blue Devils @ Dragons

Game of the Week

Easy Verdict: Blue Devils win in a high-scoring showcase

It is hard to imagine a harder matchup to predict than this week’s Game of the Week, but we must persevere. Let’s start with the team we already know: Gallia Academy. The Blue Devils have been unrivaled throughout the year, and last week was no exception. Gallia Academy made quick work of Portsmouth, routing them 50-18. This put the Blue Devil point differential on the year +148 through just five weeks. It was also a concerning week for the rest of Division Four as Gallia Academy’s defense went back to dominating their opponents. Even saying, “they went back to dominating” feels disrespectful to a unit whose season high in points allowed is 21. In any case, it was the usual suspects that were behind the Blue Devils’ offensive outburst. Braylan Rathburn, Hunter Shamblin, and the rest of Gallia Academy’s offense were once again unchallenged, improving their point per game this season to 42. That impressive offense will meet a unit that shares a similar level of prowess.

Peyton Jackson made a cameo last week while previewing Portsmouth West @ Waverly, and for good reason. His heroics lifted the Dragons over the Senators in Week One, 32-29. Those heroics have been a common theme for Fairland this season as Jackson. That continued last week against Rock Hill. Jackson went 13/14 for 220 yards and four touchdowns. Somehow, the 40-7 drubbing by the Dragons decreased their points per game this season with Fairland averaging 41 points per game on the season. The only blemish on the Dragons’ record was the utter defeat at the hands of Ironton in Week Three, 62-14. It is hard to knock Fairland for a loss to last year’s state runner-ups, but that loss exposed flaws that the Blue Devils could exploit this week.

Ironton was relentless on the line of scrimmage, and that level of play afforded the Tigers a chance to run for over 246 yards. Beyond that, the style of play of Gallia Academy should concern Fairland. The Blue Devils use Shamblin in a dual-threat capacity, similar to how Ironton utilizes Shawn Terry. Terry scorched the Dragons’ defense en route to 129 yards receiving. It will take a defensive realignment by Fairland to prevent a repeat performance by another elite offensive talent.

Final Analysis: Gallia Academy has shown little to no weakness on either side of the ball, but the blueprint exists on how to defeat this Dragons’ squad. Shamblin exists in the same mold of player that has given Fairland’s defense fits this year. Peyton Jackson will have a difficult time with this stout Blue Devils’ defense, but his efficiency will make this game go down to the wire. While I lean towards Gallia Academy, if this game comes down to the final play, I would not bet against Peyton Jackson and a clutch Dragons’ offense.

The Blue Devils survive their toughest OVC test…until Ironton.


(2-3, 0-0) Hillsboro @ (1-4, 0-0) Chillicothe

Indians @ Cavaliers

Easy Verdict: Chillicothe’s historic streak continues

A few matchups have confused people I have spoken to this week more. Let’s start with the basics. Chillicothe started the season on a brutal 0-4 stretch that saw opponents outscore the Cavaliers 124-25. That stretch saw Chillicothe shut out twice, and their season-high point total this season was 18 points, and those 18 points came back in Week One against St. Charles. Their offense has struggled to launch, and those struggles certainly have not been helped by the Cavaliers’ strength of schedule. Chillicothe’s losses have come against opponents that have a combined record of 17-2. Adding onto that, their games have come exclusively against Division Three opponents or higher except Harvest Prep. Anyone familiar with that Warriors squad can attest that Harvest Prep was likely the hardest game on the Cavaliers schedule this season.

Things did get better last week as Chillicothe managed their first victory at home against Logan. The only catch? The Cavaliers managed just a three-point victory over a Logan squad that has just a single victory to their name. To the credit of Chillicothe, it seemed as if their offense finally woke up in the 4th quarter. Quarterback Juan Miller finished the night with 171 total yards of offense and a passing touchdown. Logan entered the 4th quarter up 14-3, but the best quarter of the Cavaliers season gave them a come-from-behind win.

As for Hillsboro, their offense will live and die by last week’s dynamic duo of senior Austin Barrett and sophomore Jeven Hochstuhl. In Hillsboro’s 32-12 victory, Barrett rushed for 194 yards and Hochstuhl totaled 133 yards on the ground. The two have already combined for nearly 1,400 yards on the ground in just five games. They will have to contend with a stout Chillicothe defense that has been battle-hardened by their intense strength of schedule. In addition to that strength of schedule, Hillsboro is significantly outclassed according to Fantastic 50. Fantastic 50 places the Cavaliers at 32nd of 106 teams in Division Three and Hillsboro 75th. The cherry on top of Hillsboro’s disadvantage is the ten-year losing streak that Hillsboro has against Chillicothe.

Final Analysis: This may be the closest matchup between these two teams in a long time, but the Cavaliers have history and tougher tests from their schedule. As long as Juan Miller and the offense can continue their momentum from the matchup against Logan, it should be a narrow victory for Chillicothe

The Cavaliers get their second win of the season.


(3-2, 0-0) Tri-Valley @ (3-2, 1-0) Morgan

Scotties @ Raiders

Easy Verdict: Scotties get one week closer to their showdown against Sheridan

If Chillicothe has done itself no favors from their strength of schedule, Tri-Valley has given themselves one of the most unforgiving schedules in the state of Ohio. While they cruised to victory against Licking Heights, Maysville, and New Lexington, their two losses gave a fantastic insight into the MVL powerhouse. The Scotties fell 21-17 to DeSales in Week One and 24-14 in Week Three. Those losses have shown that Tri-Valley is not only able to keep pace with some of the best teams across Divisions Two and Four but that the Scotties are an impressive road team. Against DeSales, Coach Cam West said, “We were the better team for 3 1/2 quarters, and no one was happy with the result.

Getting those teams on the schedule has provided Tri-Valley to showcase some of the best talent that the MVL has to offer. Any conversation about the Scotties’ offense has to begin with Max Lyall, last year’s 2,700-yard passer. Last week, he issued another dominant performance against New Lexington, going 15-for-22 for 274 yards and five passing touchdowns. Ashton Sensibaugh compiled 172 yards receiving to prop up that effort. One of the most dangerous parts of this Tri-Valley offense is the emergence of a potent running attack. Jayden Wallace totaled 162 yards on the ground, and this wasn’t even his best performance on the season. In Week Two against Licking Heights, Wallace churned out 168 yards rushing with three rushing touchdowns. Last year’s team had Lyall and Sensibaugh to carry the weight, but their shoulders have to feel a little bit lighter with Wallace aiding their onslaught.

How can Morgan respond to this assault? After two dominant wins in Weeks One and Two, the Raiders went on to drop their next two contests against Philo and Sheridan. Last week, Morgan managed to sneak by a winless Coshocton by just a single point. The Raiders can’t be happy about the trajectory of their season, but getting back into the win column is never something to be written off completely. If the Raiders want to stay in the game against another MVL superpower, they need to avoid their mistakes from when they faced Sheridan in Week Four. Morgan found themselves in a 29-point hole. That made their eventual 29-13 defeat at the hands of the Generals all but a certainty. Their late excellence is something that the Raiders have to showcase to keep pace with the Scotties. Logan Niceswanger has to avoid costly turnovers while continuing to hit targets like Adam Cooper and Elliot Voytko to stay in the game versus Tri-Valley

Final Analysis: Morgan will struggle to keep up with a high-flying unit that the Scotties have. The path of the season has not been kind to the Raiders, and Tri-Valley’s unit will run roughshod over the field of play. The Scotties and the Generals inch ever closer to what could be the best game in Gridiron’s coverage all year long.

Tri-Valley rolls again to get them one week closer to the MVL Super Bowl


(3-1) Harvest Prep @ (3-2, 1-0) Wheelersburg

Warriors @ Pirates

Easy Verdict: Warriors replicate success from last year’s showdown

Talk about a rematch. Last year, the Pirates and the Warriors came to blows over the regional semifinal, and Harvest Prep came away with a narrow victory over the Pirates, 25-21. This matchup will be the first time these titans of Region 19 have met in the regular season, but they have met twice in the postseason with the Warriors emerging with two narrow victories. How do these two teams stack up to last year’s squads?

 The Warriors finished last year just one week after the Pirates, but they had much less success against the eventual state-runner-ups in the Ironton Tigers. With that result, it had to feel good for Harvest Prep to get one over on another state-runner up in the Bloom-Carroll Bulldogs in Week One, 38-16. While the Warriors managed this same result last year, Harvest Prep seemed to have hit another gear on offense. The Warriors averaged 38.2 points per game last year, and this year’s team is hitting a similar level of explosiveness with 37.25 points per game. Harvest Prep would have easily been on pace to eviscerate that standard if it hadn’t been for their only loss to Center Grove in Indiana.

Wheelersburg has encountered plenty of adversity in the young season, and that has manifested in surprising losses and a younger roster. For just the second time in a decade, the Pirates started 1-2. Wheelersburg was downed in a narrow loss in Week One, but the more surprising loss was the Week Three loss on the road against Jackson. That loss extended the losing streak against the Ironmen in four straight contests, but it was that very loss that ignited the potential of the Pirates. In consecutive weeks, Wheelersburg outscored their opponents a combined 91-0. The Pirates were massive favorites in both contests, but the young roster is starting to show their promise.

What does that young roster look like? Wheelersburg graduated 13 seniors from the previous year, a class that included quarterback Eli Jones. Sophomore Braylon Rucker took the reigns, and he has a young core of receiver at his back. He has made use of Devon Lattimore and Logan Adkins, but the Pirates have not forgotten their running roots. Creed Warren, Rucker, and Riley Cunningham form a daunting trio for opposing defenses to tangle.

Speaking of defenses, the Pirates live up to their name with the rowdy crew they have assembled. Landon Hutchinson, the leading tackler from last year’s unit, returns to lead a defense that has only allowed 12.4 points per game against the best offenses that the area has to offer. Cody Risner and Brendon Maxie return along the defensive line and more linebackers stay alongside Hutchinson with Kolton Salyers and Jake Darling returning.

Final Analysis: While the last few weeks of football have been impressive on the part of the Pirates, those victories have not come against the same level of competition that Harvest Prep has faced. Wheelersburg has a stout defense that will give the explosive Warriors’ offense plenty of troubles, but in the end, it will be Harvest Prep that is best able to survive the back-and-forth affair.

The Warriors will manage a close victory.


(1-4, 1-1) Athens @ (1-4) Logan

Bulldogs @ Chieftains

Easy Verdict: Logan closes the historic rivalry on a high note

All good things must come to an end. On the 100th iteration of the rivalry, it seems likely that this could be the final time that these two rivals will meet on the football field. With that being said, the last ten matchups have been heavily in the favor of Logan. Logan has taken this matchup eight of the last ten times, and each of the last three times these schools have met. For both teams, this season has been an uphill battle.

What’s gone wrong for the Bulldogs? I did a deeper dive into this Bulldog squad when I published my first week of predictions, and while Athens shattered the mark that I predicted for them, they were not able to keep up that momentum in the following week. Vinton County pulled away from an early Bulldog attack to firmly defeat Athens 35-13. What can we make of this loss? Last week was a step back for the Bulldog, particularly on the defensive side of the ball. Vinton County’s offense hit their second-highest point total, and their defense firmly sat down Braeden Young and the Athens offense. As for Logan’s defense, except for their loss to Sheridan, their unit has been acceptable based on their level of competition. In the past two weeks, Logan’s defense has held their opponents to an average of 15.5 points per game.

That trend does not inspire hope in the Bulldog’s chances. Athens also does not boast a schedule that strikes fear in their opponents. The Bulldogs have played a single team that is in Division Three, and the rest of their schedule is in a division below Logan. Logan, on the other hand, has played the best that Divisions Three and Four have to offer with Jackson and Sheridan. That is yet another factor that is working against Athens

Final Analysis: Even with the Logan falling in last week’s game, their defense is trending in the right direction. Athens’ momentum from their crushing victory over Alexander crashed against the rocks of Vinton County. Logan’s loss last week still highlighted the climb they have experienced.

Logan notches a final win over their longstanding rival.