Region assignments, all-Friday playoffs announced staff report
Updated: Tuesday, June 6, 2017
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Minimal change is forthcoming when it comes to the regional playoff assignments for most Stark County football programs. The biggest change, though, is when those teams would be playing their playoff games if they qualify.
The Ohio High School Athletic Association announced the playoff regions for the 2017 football season on Tuesday afternoon. Along with that announcement was the confirmation of a change which had been expected for at least a month: All playoff games will be moving to Friday nights from the regional quarterfinals through the state semifinals.
“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 in a statement. “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.”
The only games which won't fall on Fridays, barring an unforeseen circumstance, will be four of the seven state championship games Nov.30-Dec. 2 in Canton. One title game, either Division I, II, V or VII, will be played on Nov. 30 at 7:30 p.m., with the other three from those divisions played on Dec. 1 at 10 a.m., 3 p.m. and 8 p.m.
The Division III, IV and VI state title games will be played in Canton on Dec. 2 at either 10 a.m., 3 p.m. or 8 p.m. The exact dates and times for the seven championship games will be announced Nov. 25.
As for the playoff regions, the biggest changes with regards to Stark County teams centers around those school which either rose or fell a division when the division breakdowns were announced in April. Those schools include Perry (up from Division II to Division I); Hoover (down to Division II from Division I); and St. Thomas Aquinas and Dalton (down to Division VII from Division VI).
Perry and Hoover essentially trade regions, with the two-time Division II state runner-up Panthers moving in the Division I Region 1 with Federal League rivals McKinley, Jackson and GlenOak while the Vikings drop into Division II Region 7 with Massillon and Lake. The Knights and Bulldogs move into Division VII Region 25, where East Canton remains.
Alliance, Louisville and Marlington all remain in Division III Region 9. Canton South, Northwest and MInerva move into a new region - Region 13, which includes much of Northeast Ohio east of Cuyahoga County - while they remained in Division IV.
Central Catholic, Fairless, Sandy Valley and Tuslaw remain in Division V Region 17, which now includes Wayne County entries Chippewa, Northwestern, Orrville and Triway.