COLUMBUS, Ohio — The first two weeks of the Ohio high school football playoffs in all seven divisions will be played on Friday nights only this upcoming season.
The Ohio High School Athletic Association announced its 2022 football regulations in a memo to member schools on Wednesday afternoon.
The first two weeks of the postseason occur where the higher seed (better seed) hosts the game. The games move to neutral sites after that.
The regional semifinals, which is the third week of the postseason, through the state semifinals will be played on Friday and Saturday nights at neutral locations. Starting with the regional semifinals, the next three rounds of the postseason will be Divisions I, II, III and V on Friday nights and Divisions IV, VI and VII on Saturday nights in 2022.
Although the OHSAA didn't specify the reason for the change in the memo, coaches have given feedback that they prefer playing on Friday nights, according to OHSAA director of media relations Tim Stried. Schools have also found better attendance in all sports on Friday. At the same time, there is an understanding to divide the competition days once the neutral sites start in the regional semifinals.
In 2021, Divisions I, II, III and IV played on Friday nights with the exception that the Division II state final was on Thursday. (Winton Woods won the Division II state title).
Meanwhile, Divisions V, VI and VII played on Saturday nights in 2021.
The OHSAA also defined its acclimatization period in the regulations. All five days of acclimatization may be completed from July 18-July 31. Student-athletes who complete that acclimation in July may participate in full contact on Aug. 1.
All student-athletes joining the team for the first time at any point during the season after the first day of mandatory practice must participate in a five-day acclimatization period prior to any contact drills.
The OHSAA football regular season begins the week of Aug. 15 with the first Friday night being Aug. 19. The regular season concludes Oct. 22 and the playoff qualifiers are announced Oct. 23.
The state finals return to Canton this year with games scheduled Dec. 1-4. This is a second year of a three-year contract between the OHSAA and Pro Football Hall of Fame.