The Van Wert County Courthouse

Monday, Jan. 17, 2022

Pigskins Pick’Em: Week No. 5

SCOTT TRUXELL/independent sports editor

Friday night will mark the halfway point of the high school football regular season and once again some interesting games are on tap, including a pair of games that will almost certainly have a direct impact on the Northwest Conference championship race. 

It’s been an exciting season with close games, shootouts and some mild upsets along the way and it appears that trend will continue throughout the regular season. 

Last week I went 15-4. One game, Edgerton at Ayersville was canceled so that game doesn’t count in the standings. My overall season record is 80-22 or 78.4 percent, still just shy of the 80 percent goal. This week, 20 games are on the area schedule. 

Games of the Week

Allen East (3-1) at Columbus Grove (4-0)

It’s an important NWC game between the three time defending champion Bulldogs and Allen East, a team considered to be a contender for the conference title. 

Columbus Grove has allowed seven points or less in three of four games while Allen East has scored 30 or more in three games, so something has to give. 

In the end, I think Columbus Grove’s defense and running game will be too much for the Mustangs and besides – it’s tough to pick against the defending champs at home.

The pick: Columbus Grove

Leipsic (2-2) at Spencerville (2-2)

Another important NWC game.

Ignore the 2-2 records, these two teams are good. Spencerville’s losses came to Division III Elida and state-ranked Lima Central Catholic, while Leipsic lost to Liberty-Benton and Tinora. 

In my mind, the big question is if Spencerville will attempt a pass during the game. The Bearcats didn’t during last week’s win over Bluffton. 

While I think the Vikings are more than capable winning the game and making a big splash in their first year in the NWC, I’m not betting against Spencerville at home. 

The pick: Spencerville 

Wapakoneta (2-2) at Shawnee (4-0)

This is one of the more intriguing games around the area. 

Wapakoneta looked (and was) unstoppable against Van Wert last Friday, while Shawnee gets it done with defense, having posted wins of 14-7 and 10-7. 

Honestly, this is a tough game to pick. Wapak has had some ups and downs and Shawnee has been steady but unspectacular. However, it’s tough to argue with a 4-0 record. 

My first instinct was to pick Wapakoneta and while I’m having second thoughts, I’ll stick with it and see what happens.

The pick: Wapakoneta 

Wayne Trace (1-3) at Tinora (3-1)

Congratulations to Wayne Trace head coach Matt Holden for picking up his first career win last week.

Now Holden and the Raiders turn their attention to Tinora, a team considered by many to be the favorite to win the GMC championship. The Rams have had some close games this season, losing a game by two and winning two others by a combined five points. 

I think this game will be close too. Wayne Trace has hung with some tough teams to this point and I really believe Friday will be no different.

I want to pick Wayne Trace and I won’t be shocked if the Raiders pull off the upset but I feel as though I’ll go with my initial thought of the Rams.

The pick: Tinora

Delphos Jefferson (2-2) at Crestview (3-1)

I’m going to come out and say it – I think this has the potential to be a very good game.

Delphos Jefferson has made significant strides and isn’t a team to be taken lightly. The Wildcats could easily be 3-1 and even last week’s 31-7 loss to Columbus Grove was closer than the final score indicated.

Quarterback Colin Bailey poses challenges for any defense but I believe Crestview’s offensive and defensive lines will prove to be the difference in this one.

It won’t be easy, but I’m going with the Knights.

The pick: Crestview

Van Wert (4-0) at St. Marys Memorial (2-2)

The Cougars will head to Auglaize County as the state’s No. 1 team in Division IV and the Roughriders would love nothing more than to knock them from that spot. 

No doubt they’ve watched plenty of video from last week’s Wapak game to see what worked and what didn’t and since they have many of the same tendencies, St. Marys will try to replicate some of what the Redskins did.

Ultimately, I believe Van Wert simply has too many weapons and if nothing else, the Cougars will simply outscore the Roughriders. 

The pick: Van Wert 

Best of the Rest

NWC

Bluffton at Ada: Bluffton

WBL

Defiance at Kenton: Defiance

Bath at Ottawa-Glandorf: Ottawa-Glandorf

Elida at Celina: Elida

GMC

Antwerp at Fairview: Antwerp

Paulding at Edgerton: Edgerton

Ayersville at Hicksville: Ayersville

MAC 

Anna at New Bremen: New Bremen

Delphos St. John’s at Coldwater: Coldwater 

Minster at Marion Local: Marion Local

St. Henry at Parkway: St. Henry

Versailles at Fort Recovery: Versailles

Others

Lima Sr. at Clay: Lima Sr.

Lima Central Catholic at Willard (Saturday): Lima Central Catholic 

POSTED: 09/16/21 at 3:57 am. FILED UNDER: Sports