COLUMBUS — Due to ever-changing enrollment numbers and new competitive balance measures, some Ohio high schools will find themselves competing in a new football division or region this upcoming season.
The Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSAA) released its new divisions and regional assignments on Tuesday.
Both London and Jonathan Alder high schools will compete in Division IV, Region 16 this fall, while West Jefferson and Madison-Plains will each play in Division V, Region 2o.
Schools already knew which divisions they would be competing in due to information released by the OHSAA months ago but now know which teams they’ll be competing against for state playoff berths.
Both Alder and London were in D-IV, Region 14 a year ago. The Pioneers would have been bumped up to D-III had the new rules for competitive balance not gone in to effect.
Other noteworthy squads in D-IV, Region 16 include Clinton-Massie, Cincinnati Indian Hill, Wyoming, Germantown Valley View and Waverly, all teams which qualified for the playoffs last year. Alder was a state playoff team as well.
West Jeff and Madison-Plains will compete in the same division and same region after West Jefferson High School moved up from D-VI to D-V due to an increase in enrollment.
Other strong football programs in D-V, Region 20 include Cincinnati North College Hill, Carlisle, Reading, Cincinnati Mariemont and Versailles.
New in 2017, all playoff games during the first four rounds will be played on Friday nights. Also announced was the format for the state championship games, which will be played at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton Nov. 30 through Dec. 2.
The new regions and playoffs format were approved last Thursday by the OHSAA Board of Directors at their June meeting as part of the 2017 football tournament regulations. New divisions were announced on April 6.
“For a few years now we have studied the possibility of moving all playoff games to Friday nights for the first four rounds,” OHSAA Assistant Commissioner Beau Rugg said. “Due to so many more college football games being played on Saturday nights, attendance at our Saturday playoff games has steadily declined, and more potential playoff sites have said they cannot host games on Saturdays. We now have enough playoff sites to handle all the games on one night, and the football coaches association was in support of this change, too, because teams will get to stay on their normal weekly schedule of playing on Friday night.”
Reach Chris Miles at 740-852-1616, ext. 1618 or via Twitter @MadPressSports.