Troy’s Nick Kawecki battles for extra yardage Friday against Butler.
Josh Brown | Miami Valley Today
Covington’s Gavin Swank brings down a Twin Valley South ballcarrier Friday.
Ben Robinson | GoBuccs.com
MIAMI COUNTY — With the playoff pecking order beginning to take shape as the shortened season crosses into its second half, Week 4’s slate offers plenty of big high school football games — including one later tonight.
Week 4 features a pair of matchups between undefeated teams, with Covington hosting Fort Loramie Thursday night in the Cross County Conference championship game for the Buccaneers’ half of the league and with Piqua hosting Stebbins in a contest between the two Miami Valley League division leaders.
• Stebbins (3-0) at Piqua (3-0): The Piqua Indians are already 3-0 for the first time since their undefeated regular season in 1999. Friday, they face another big test in a surprising Stebbins team that also boasts a 3-0 record.
Both teams are battle tested, but in different ways. Stebbins has won its three games by a combined eight points: 28-25 over West Carrollton, 22-20 over Sidney and 26-23 over Xenia. The combined record of those three teams is 1-7, though, while Piqua’s victories have come against 2-1 Troy and winless Butler and Greenville teams, with Piqua outscoring its opponents by a combined score of 118-28.
Last year, Piqua went to Stebbins and put away a 27-10 victory for its first win of the year.
• Fort Loramie (3-0) at Covington (3-0): One final battle Thursday night for the Cross County Conference title. Fort Loramie has won the league title the last two seasons on the strength of victories over the Buccaneers, 33-14 in 2018 and a narrow 19-14 victory last year at Fort Loramie.
The Redskins have not been tested this season, winning their three games by a combined score of 150-7. Covington has been impressive as well, though, building huge halftime leads each of the first three weeks, outscoring opponents 81-7 in the first half of those three wins.
• Tippecanoe (2-0) at Troy (2-1): Troy has begun to build its identity in the two weeks after its season-opening loss to rival Piqua. Tippecanoe, meanwhile, has had two weeks to prepare for the Trojans.
Last year, the Red Devils gave the Trojans everything they had in a 14-7 loss in Tipp City, the fourth straight win for Troy over Tippecanoe but the closest of those four matchups. And while Troy has scored wins in the past two weeks over a pair of 0-3 teams in Xenia and Butler, the Devils are in the same position, posting wins over 0-3 Butler and 0-3 Greenville before Week 3’s matchup against Fairborn was postponed due to COVID-19 concerns among the Skyhawks.
• Milton-Union (2-1) at Preble Shawnee (1-2): Milton-Union will get the chance to bounce back from last week’s disappointing 28-6 loss to Southwestern Buckeye League Buckeye Division leader Waynesville, traveling to 1-2 Preble Shawnee.
The Arrows are coming off of back-to-back losses, 42-7 to Waynesville in Week 2 and 28-0 to Franklin last week. The matchup was a close one last year, though, with the Bulldogs winning 18-13 at home, so they can’t go into Friday’s game thinking Preble Shawnee will be a pushover.
• Tri-County North (2-1) at Miami East (1-2): Miami East has played its toughest two games of the year the past two weeks, falling to undefeated Covington and Fort Loramie. The Vikings will get the chance to end the skid. It will come against 2-1 Tri-County North, though, which has beaten 0-3 Bethel and 0-3 Twin Valley South the past two weeks. Last year, Miami East pulled away for a 41-12 victory over the Panthers.
• Twin Valley South (0-3) at Bethel (0-3): Bethel couldn’t hold on against Tri-County North last week, missing its chances at its first victory in a 19-13 loss. The Bees will get another chance as they host 0-3 Twin Valley South, though, which is coming off of a 40-0 loss against Covington last week. Last year, the Panthers held off the Bees, 25-20.
• Lucas (3-0) at Troy Christian (1-2): Troy Christian has had it rough in two straight losses to McComb and Wayne Trace in the past two weeks. And things won’t get any easier with 3-0 Lucas coming to town Friday. Last year, the Division VII state runner-up Cubs defeated the Eagles 43-0.
• Tri-Village (3-0) at Bradford (0-3): Despite its 35-game losing streak as a program, this year’s Railroaders built some confidence in Week 3, taking Mississinawa Valley to overtime before falling 12-6. Friday, Bradford will host high-scoring and undefeated Tri-Village, though, which won the matchup 42-6 last year.
• Lehman (2-1) at Hardin Northern (2-1): Lehman’s two wins this year have come against 0-3 teams, while its one loss was against a 3-0 team. This week, the Cavaliers will get a solid challenge in 2-1 Hardin Northern, whose opponents have had the same records as Lehman’s. Last year, the Polar Bears shut out the Cavs 21-0.