Locals look to wrap up outright NCC title
By JON KLEINKNECHT
Inquirer Sports Editor
There is plenty on the line as the Galion Tigers make the trip to Richland County on Friday to battle the Ontario Warriors in the regular-season football finale.
With a 15–7 win over seven-time reigning North Central Conference champion Wynford last week, the Orange-and-Blue wrapped up at least a share of the NCC crown, eliminating the Royals from the picture in the process.
Galion is 8–1 overall and 6–0 in the NCC. A victory over the Warriors on Friday not only gives the Tigers the conference title outright, it will also guarantee them a spot in the playoffs.
The Warriors — 6–3 overall and 5–1 in the conference — are playing for a lot, too. If they defeat the Tigers, they’ll be NCC co-champs. Currently ranked 13th in Division IV, Region 14, Ontario also has an outside shot at the post-season.
Galion is presently ranked fourth in the same region. The top eight teams in the region at the end of Friday night will qualify for the playoffs. The top four teams in the region will host first round playoff games on Friday, November 2.
Head coach Chris Hawkins of the Tigers said a loss to the Warriors on Friday could drop his squad as far as ninth in the ratings.
“They’re playing for an awful lot, and so are we,” Hawkins stated. “It’s their last home, if they win they’re co-champs and they also have a chance at the playoffs.”
A year ago, the Tigers topped the Warriors 36–26 in the finale. That kept Ontario out of the playoffs as they finished ranked ninth. The Tigers were 10th.
“They’re gonna be pumped up,” Hawkins said. “We obviously need to be focused. I expect our kids to be ready.”
Ontario’s only conference loss came at the hands of Upper Sandusky via a n 18–14 score in the fifth week.
One week later, the Warriors ended Wynford’s 66-game regular-season winning streak — the longest running one in Ohio at the time — by thumping the Royals 26–7. That began what is currently a four-game winning string for Friday’s opponent.
The Warriors lost two of their three non-conference games early in the season. Included was a 34–14 shellacking by Shelby — the only win this year for the Whippets.
“If they bring their “A” game, they’re as good as any team we play,” Hawkins said. “We have to get better. That’s what we look to do every week.”
(The remainder of the story is available in printed issues of the Galion Inquirer)