The Division V Final Four almost matches the top of the final Associated Press regular-season football poll.
Madison High School is the party crasher as the Mohawks (11-2) were unranked heading into their first playoff competition, but they’ll face third-ranked Wheelersburg (13-0) in a state semifinal at 7:30 p.m. on Friday at Herrnstein Field in Chillicothe.
WEEK 13: Madison 42, West Jefferson 7
WEEK 12: Madison 35, CHCA 27
WEEK 11: Madison 14, Anna 10
No. 1 Pemberville Eastwood (13-0) and No. 2 Canfield South Range (13-0) will meet in Friday’s other semifinal at Strongsville’s Pat Catan Stadium, with the state championship game set for Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton on Nov. 30 (7:30 p.m.) or Dec. 1 (10 a.m., 3 p.m. or 8 p.m.).
Wheelersburg, located about nine miles east of Portsmouth on the Ohio River, is a perennial state contender that’s 33-27 in 29 trips to the playoffs. Madison is 3-0 in postseason competition over the last three weekends.
The Pirates captured the Division IV state title in 1989, but they are 1-5 in state semifinal games. Those results are as follows:
• 1981 — Division IV, lost to Nelsonville-York 14-0
• 1989 — Division IV, beat Versailles 15-7 (then defeated Warren John F. Kennedy 14-7 for the championship)
• 1991 — Division IV, lost to Springfield Catholic Central 28-13
• 1994 — Division IV, lost to Valley View 24-7
• 1998 — Division V, lost to Versailles 14-7
• 2015 — Division V, lost to Coldwater 36-6
Friday’s game will be Wheelersburg’s third straight contest at Herrnstein Field. The Pirates opened the postseason with a home win over Columbus Ready (34-0), then topped Columbus Academy (35-16) and Johnstown-Monroe (34-7) at Chillicothe.
According to MapQuest, it’s a 56.3-mile trip from Wheelersburg High School to Herrnstein Field. Madison will be traveling 90.5 miles.
Ticket information: Presale tickets will be available in Madison’s fieldhouse community room from 4-7 p.m. on Wednesday and 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Friday.
All presale tickets are $8, and all tickets at the gate will be $10. Local fans are encouraged to buy presale tickets as Madison will receive a portion of that money.