And then there were three.
At beginning of the high school football playoff season, 12 area teams were vying for a chance at a state title. Three of those teams still remain standing.
The only Trumbull County school still taking the field is the undefeated Brookfield Warriors. With a 12-0 record, the Warriors will battle a team this week in the Division IV, Region 13 final that also has a 12-0 record - the defending Division IV state champion Norwayne Bobcats.
This is the game Brookfield has been wanting all season. In 2011, after making the playoffs for the first time since 1994, the Warriors were defeated by Norwayne in the first round, 42-7. That season, the Warriors were the seven seed going against the second-seeded Bobcats. This time around, Brookfield is the No. 1 seed and Norwayne is the second.
The two teams will face off on Friday night at Stow Ron Marhofer Auto Family Field at 7:30 p.m.
Also playing on Friday night is the Youngstown Christian Eagles. After rallying to defeat Malvern in a Division VI, Region 21 semifinal, the Eagles will now take on the top-seeded Mogadore Wildcats at Ravenna Gilcrest Field for a 7:30 p.m. contest.
By winning Friday's game, the Eagles made school history, advancing to the regional final for the first time. Youngstown Christian is a relative newcomer in the high school football playoffs (their only other appearance was in 2011). But this week, the Eagles are going against playoff veterans. Mogadore has made the playoffs 26 times in school history and 14 times in a row. The last time the Wildcats weren't in the playoffs was in 1998.
The last team alive in the playoffs from the area is the Ursuline Fighting Irish. After a 28-point third quarter against Cuyahoga Heights, the Irish advanced to face Kirtland in the Division V, Region 17 final.
These two teams are no stranger to each other in the postseason. In 2010 in the same round, the Irish faced Kirtland and won, 48-0. That was en route to Ursuline's third-straight state championship. In 2008, the two teams also met, with Ursuline winning that game as well, 18-17.
The latest matchup between the two Division V powers will take place at Aurora Veterans Stadium on Saturday night. Kickoff is at 7 p.m.
The teams that win these games advance to their respective state semifinals, which will be played at a neutral site. Mahoning Valley history shows that at least one of these teams will make the state semifinals, as an area team has advanced to Week 14 every year since 2002.