There's scoreboard watching in every professional sport and, but, at this time of year, there's plenty in high school football, too.
A number of pivotal games will occur involving area teams over the next three weeks - like Greensburg Salem/Hollidaysburg tonight and Central/Huntingdon and Juniata Valley/Bellwood-Antis next week - as the playoff picture, which the Mirror will begin exploring next week, starts to come into focus.
At the same time, quite a few other regional matchups will impact the area schools and should have fans, coaches and players eagerly checking out the Mirror's online scoreboard for the rest of October.
Here's a taste of what's on tap:
Johnstown at Bishop McCort: Johnstown is undefeated but still only 130 points ahead of third-place Bellefonte in the District 6 Class AAA point standings. Only the top two teams in 6-AAA make the playoffs, so one loss might be enough to cost the Trojans a chance to defend their district title.
The real focus is on McCort. After losing its first two games, the Crushers have reeled off four straight wins to move into sixth place in the District 6 Class A standings. With upcoming games vs. Bishop Carroll and Forest Hills, McCort has the best chance to move up the 6-A rankings or drop down ... meaning it could run into someone like Bellwood, Carroll or Juniata Valley very early in the postseason.
United at Ligonier Valley: As the only Class AA team, Ligonier is a power in the Heritage Conference. Should it prevail in this game, the Rams have a great chance to earn a District 5-6 home game without beating a team larger than Class A, while the Class AA teams in the Mountain and Laurel Highlands conferences are beating each other up. This game, therefore, will be of major significance to Chestnut Ridge, Penn Cambria and Huntingdon.
United is one of five 6-A teams entering this week at 4-2. Bellwood, Glendale and Northern Cambria could feel immediate effects of whatever United does, depending on how they handle their own business.
By the way, the 6-A playoffs will be comprised of 12 teams this year with no minimum win requirement, contrary to what has been reported in here earlier.
North Star at Conemaugh Township: Northern Bedford controls its destiny in District 5 Class A since Township lost to Ridge two weeks ago. However, so little separates most of the other 5-A teams that the result of this game will directly affect who ends up in the Black Panthers' end of the bracket as well as Tussey Mountain's fortunes.
Bald Eagle Area at Bellefonte: A BEA win here could conceivably keep a team like Central or Central Cambria out of the playoffs. Bellefonte, for the reasons mentioned above, also still might have something left for which to play.
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