OHSAA announces football realignment

The Ohio High School Athletic Association revealed on Thursday how Ohio’s high school football teams will be divided up as it begins its new seven-division format beginning this fall.

This will be the first time the OHSAA has created a new division since it debuted Division VI in 1994.

The new Division VII comes about with a split of Division I, raising the enrollment cutoff from a minimum of 494 boys in grades 10-12 to over 600, creating a more level playing field in Division I, In addition, the new Division I will be split into just two regions, a north and south region, with 16 teams in each qualifying for the postseason as opposed to the regular format of four regions and eight qualifiers per region.

Area teams in the new Division VII will be St. Mary, St. Paul, Monroeville and Open Door, which is set to begin varsity play this season.

Lorain and Elyria will be the only local teams in the new Division I.

Division II will feature six local teams in Westlake, North Ridgeville, Amherst, Midview, Avon and Avon Lake. Only North Ridgeville and Amherst failed to make the playoffs out of that group last season.

The realignment also puts border rivals Avon and Avon Lake in the same division and region, meaning they could potentially meet twice this year before the Eagles join Avon Lake in the Southwestern Conference in 2015. North Ridgeville, Amherst and Avon Lake were all in Division I the last two years.

Another pair of border rivals will be put together in Division III as Perkins and Sandusky will be in the same division, along with Sandusky’s Northern Ohio League foe Norwalk. Sandusky and Norwalk were in Division II the last two years.

Six more local teams will join Division IV as Bay, Vermilion, Brookside and Firelands all drop one division after being in Division III, and Clearview and Keystone stay put.

Huron, Edison, Western Reserve, Wellington, Elyria Catholic and Columbia will be the area teams in Division V. Edison, Western Reserve and Columbia were in Division V the last two seasons while Huron, Wellington and Elyria Catholic were a part of Division IV in that time.

Division VI will feature New London and Oberlin from the coverage area as both drop down a division from the previous alignment. The OHSAA also announced that Divisions II, III, IV and VI will play their postseason games on Friday nights at 7:30 p.m., while Divisions I, V and VII will play on Saturday nights at 7 p.m.

There will also be one state championship game played on Thursday, Dec. 5 with the other six to be played on either Friday, Dec. 6 or Saturday, Dec. 7 at either Fawcett Stadium in Canton or Massillon Paul Brown Tiger Stadium. The game to be played on that Thursday night as well as times for all state championship games will be decided the morning after the final state semifinal games are played.

For a full list of teams by division as well as new regional maps, visit www.ohsaa.org.

@Bielik_Tim

Last Updated: 6/13/2013 9:10:59 PM EST

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