CINCINNATI -- The Ohio High School Athletic Association announced Tuesday afternoon the football regions and schedule format for this upcoming season.
There will be 719 schools playing football this upcoming season with practice starting July 31 this summer.
The OHSAA announced the divisional breakdown for each of those teams in April but formally placed them in their respective regions this month. This season will be the first time that competitive balance is applied for tournament divisions.
There are no drastic changes locally to the regional format in Division I. Princeton and Walnut Hills moved up to Division I after being Division II due to the enrollment numbers from the Ohio Department of Education in 2016.
Huber Heights Wayne, a perennial Dayton power, remains in Region 3 with a mixture of Franklin County and Montgomery County teams. Just like last year, that hypothetically means a Cincinnati team wouldn't face Wayne until the state semifinals.
All told there will be 73 schools in Division I when the OHSAA officially counts the enrollment of West Clermont High School (Amelia and Glen Este merged). The OHSAA will receive the official enrollments on Sept. 10.
As WCPO.com first reported last week, the first four rounds of the playoffs in all seven divisions will be played on Friday nights. This season will be the first time since 1973 that the playoffs will be played almost exclusively on Friday.
“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.”
The OHSAA also announced the format for the state championship games at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton. The championship game time assignments will be announced Nov. 25.
The schedule is as follows:
Thursday, Nov. 30 -- Divisions I, II, V or VII, 7:30 p.m.
Friday, Dec. 1 -- Divisions I, II, V or VII. Game times at 10 a.m., 3 p.m. and 8 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 2 -- Divisions III, IV or VI. Game times at 10 a.m., 3 p.m. and 8 p.m.
The state finals will be in Canton through 2018. The OHSAA intends to move the state finals back to Columbus in 2019.