684 High School Football Teams prepare for first round of playoffs October 9th and 10th. (See schedule involving local teams below)
COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio High School Athletic Association has announced the regional brackets for the football playoffs Thursday, which currently include 648 schools that will take part in the 2020 postseason.
In a normal season, 224 schools qualify for the playoffs, with eight schools from each of 28 regions earning a bid through the OHSAA’s Harbin computer ratings system, which will not be used this season. However, this season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the playoffs will begin in Week 7 (Oct. 9-10) and all teams could opt in.
The OHSAA will send playoff ticketing guidelines and information to schools on Friday and will meet virtually with all playoff schools on Monday morning to discuss. According the latest order from the Ohio Department of Health and the Governor, only 15 percent of the stadium’s permanent seating capacity are permitted to attend games, unless the site has been approved for a variance by the Ohio Department of Health. Note that the home team can have its band in attendance for its games, while both teams can have cheerleaders.
All playoff tickets will be sold online through www.OHSAA.org/tickets and will be available starting Tuesday, October 6.
PLAYOFF SCHEDULE AND FORMAT
Earlier this week, the head coaches in each region voted to determine the seeding in their region. On Thursday, the OHSAA placed teams on brackets according to the seeds. Many of the higher seeds will have a first-round bye in most regions.
Divisions, I, II, III and VII will play on Friday nights. Divisions IV, V and VI will play on Saturday nights. All games kick off at 7 p.m.
For each game through at least the regional semifinals, the higher seeded team will have the first opportunity to host the game. If the higher seeded team cannot host, the other team will host the game. The OHSAA will determine sites for the regional finals, state semifinals and state championships. If a team is unable to play a playoff game on the assigned day according to the bracket, its opponent will advance on the bracket.
Schools eliminated from the OHSAA playoffs or that chose not to enter the playoffs have the option to schedule additional regular season contests through Saturday, November 14 (maximum of 10 regular season contests permitted).
STATE CHAMPIONSHIP GAMES
The Division I state championship game will be played Friday, November 13. The specific dates and times for the state championship games in Divisions II through VII will be announced at a later date, but will be played within the November 19-22 date range. Sites will be announced at a later date, as well, but it is unlikely that all seven games will be played at the same venue. There will be no state championship games that happen simultaneously, as each game will have its own time slot.
Football Playoff Games for Local Teams, All kickoffs, 7pm:
COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio High School Athletic Association has announced new regional alignments for the upcoming football playoffs after 664 schools opted in for the postseason. In a normal season, 224 schools qualify for the playoffs, with eight schools from each of 28 regions earning a bid through the OHSAA’s Harbin computer ratings system, which will not be used this season.
Originally, there were 709 schools that indicated they planned to contend for a playoff bid this season playing 11-man football, but the COVID-19 pandemic has caused some schools to start their seasons later or end early. Based on the recommendation from Governor Mike DeWine and the Ohio Department of Health, the OHSAA shortened the football season.
PLAYOFF SCHEDULE AND FORMAT
On September 29 and 30, the head coaches in each region will vote to seed the teams in their region. The OHSAA will then place teams on brackets on October 1. With various numbers of schools in each region, many of the higher seeds will have a first-round bye in most regions.
Once the brackets are set, the top team on the bracket of the specific game will have the first opportunity to host the game throughout the regional playoffs. If the top team on the bracket cannot host, the other team will host the game. The OHSAA will determine sites for the state semifinals and state championships.
If a team is unable to play a playoff game on the assigned day according to the bracket, its opponent will advance on the bracket.
Playoff games will be held on Friday and Saturday nights beginning October 9-10. Divisions, I, II, III and VII will play on Friday nights. Divisions IV, V and VI will play on Saturday nights.
As a reminder, schools eliminated from the OHSAA playoffs or that choose not to enter the OHSAA playoffs have the option to schedule additional regular season contests through Saturday, November 14 (maximum of 10 regular season contests permitted).
Spectrum News 1 is the official television partner of the OHSAA and will select several playoff games each weekend to televise live. Only Spectrum can provide live television coverage of OHSAA football playoff games. All other television broadcasts can start at 10:00 p.m. the same day as the game, with rights fees determined by the OHSAA. Live video streaming will be permitted for games not selected by Spectrum News 1 at rates set by the OHSAA, which will be announced later in September.
The Litter Media Game of the Week is a Scioto Valley Conference affair as Paint Valley (2-1) heads to Unioto (2-1) Friday night.
The 2020 season is the first time in more than a quarter century Pete Hollon’s been absent from the sidelines in Paint Valley Black-and-Yellow.
Corey Dye is the new man with the whistle for the Bearcats. He says it’s been a pretty smooth transition and the Bainbridge community has been welcoming.
“You always worry about that transition whenever you start a new job” Dye told Litter Media. “You wonder of the kids are gonna accept you right off the bat, but it’s just been really great and I’m blessed to be here.”
Dye has learned a lot about his kids the last three weeks. The summer workouts presented their own brand of uniqueness due to the pandemic restrictions. And once live game action began, the cream began to rises to the top.
“I knew after doing workouts with them, the short time we did get to do workouts, and then we were cut short, of course, for obviously because of COVID… I knew that I had a group of kids that were really tough and resilient” said Dye. “They’ve been able to prove that to me the last three weeks. We played a really good opponent the first week (Adena) and they never gave up.”
Dye says that’s a credit to his predecessor, the assistant coaches who have been part of the PVF tradition before his arrival and the seniors class. “It’s not easy having a new coach, especially going into your last year. The group of kids that I have, have just done a tremendous job of leading this team and I couldn’t be prouder.”
Hollon and the graduating class, went 19-4 their last two seasons, including an SVC Gold Ball in 2018 and a 1-2 record in back-to-back playoff appearances.
“The graduating class that just left here, is probably gonna go down as one of the best classes to come through here in a long time. They were able to put up some unbelievable numbers, stat-wise and won quite a few games in their tenure here.”
Dye says the classes which moved up through the PV chain as juniors and sophomores got valuable experience thanks to the Class of 2020. “They’re basically carrying on the torch and hopefully we can continue to do that.”
Quarterback Cavan Cooper experienced baptism by fire as a freshman when Bryce Newland’s season ended abruptly due to a broken leg.
“The way Cavan was able to step in there last year and the job that he did is really admirable, it’s remarkable because it’s really hard for a freshman to play against a team of seniors, juniors, even sophomores… and he was able to do that at a high level.”
Unioto has had two thrilling last-moment finishes this season, the opening week at Piketon (44-38) and last Friday at Zane Trace (23-18).
While first year varsity head coach Matt Hoops is happy with the wins, he’d like to see them decided a bit sooner than later. “We knew coming into the season we were going to be really inexperienced in a lot of different spots, but we have a lot of good athletes, we have a lot of kids who are competitive. They’ve put us in position two of our first three games.”
Hoops has been at the helm of the Shermans’ Boys Basketball program for several years and all the while has been a coach in the football program. When Jeff Metzler stepped down after last season, Hoops jumped at the opportunity to fill the vacancy. It was a chance to do something he’d always wanted to do.
Hoops is familiar with the football kids from coaching them at lower levels in the program over the years. And so far, it’s been like putting on a comfortable pair of shoes.
“I know a lot of these guys” said Hops. “Almost everyone on our roster I’ve coached before in some aspect. I’m pretty familiar with a lot of the guys coming in, so that’s helped the transition be as smooth as it could’ve been.”
His quarterback, Isaac Little also drives the ship for his basketball team. Their positive working relationship in the gym has transferred over to the gridiron also.
“They asked him to play quarterback last year, something he had never done before” said Hoops. “Obviously the reason they did that was because of just what makes him who he is… a supreme competitor, a really good athlete, a very smart individual, academically on the field and the court. Isaac’s the type of kid you want with the ball in his hands. He’s gonna make plays for ya, and he’s gonna get you out of some bad plays because of his IQ.”
The Bearcats dealt Unioto a 41-7 loss at UHS in 2019. Our Litter Media cameras will return for the rematch Friday. Watch for score updates during the game on the Litter Media Facebook Page, photos and Litter Media Extras over the weekend and a highlight video of the game early next week.
RJ Cartwright’s 50-yard interception return snuffed a Huntington rally and secured a 44-28 victory for Southeastern Friday night.
Trailing 36-28, the Huntsmen recovered a Southeastern fumble with under three minutes to play and give Huntington a chance to tie the game. On second down, Nick Marion’s pass slipped through the hands of Alan Smith and Cartwright was in the right spot and returned the ball to the end zone. Mikey Nusser tacked on a two-point conversion for the final.
“Tough people win” said Garrett Blair as his Panthers earned their first win of the season. “You’re gonna hit an edge and we made our own edge a bunch of times… Like I told them (his team) When the goin’ got tough, the tough got goin’. When it counted we made plays and that’s what counts.”
Southeastern jumped ahead 16-0 on touchdown runs by Clay Morgan and Jarrett McWhorter. The Huntsmen answered with a scoring strike by Marion to Darius Brown to cut the lead with 2:33 remaining in the 1st quarter.
McWhorter scored again to give the Panthers a 22-6 lead at the break.
Nusser rolled for a TD run extending the margin to 30-6 before the Huntsmen answered on a Seth McCloskey run and a two-point conversion pulled Huntington back to 30-14.
Southeastern looked to put the game out of reach on an 8-yard run by Nusser for a 36-14 lead at 5:43 of the 3rd quarter. But the Huntsmen weren’t about to go away quietly.
Marion connected again with Brown at 7:39 in the 4th on a 53-yard scoring pass and a two-point conversion cutting the lead to 36-22. Less than two minutes later, Marion hit Emery Woods in stride and Huntington was within a touchdown.
The Huntsmen defense stopped Southeastern to take possession near midfield with just minutes remaining. After an incompletion on first down, Cartwright turned the momentum back to the Panthers with his pick-6.
“I told them after the game, you give us that same type of energy and that same type of passion and play as physical and as smart as you did in the second half, we’re gonna be fine” said Huntington’s Scott Keller. “We made some adjustments and they went out and they executed… in the past, these kids were so young, that game would’ve ended up 50 or 55 to 6 and that woulda been ballgame. But you can tell they’ve matured a lot. They’re growin’ up and starting to understand, starting to see it.”
Southeastern’s rushing attack cranked out 400-plus yards on the ground while the Huntsmen did their damage through the air. Marion completed 20-of-35 passes for 256 yards and three TDs with four interceptions. Woods caught 9 balls for 133 yards and a TD with Brown tallying 74 yards on 4 catches and two touchdowns. Smith had 5 receptions for 42 yards. Dalton Haubeil managed 107 yards on the ground on 12 carries.
Southeastern (1-1) hosts Piketon (0-2) in Week 3. The Redstreaks fell to Paint Valley 56-19 Friday.
Huntington (0-2) is home with Paint Valley (1-1) Friday.
Watch for a highlight package of the Panthers and Huntsmen this Tuesday on the Litter Media YouTube channel.
It was good to get back to on the gridiron Friday night for the Litter Media Game of the Week… however, it was admittedly different.
Among the observations:
GUIDELINES: Despite the downsizing of fan attendance, it was good to see activity and be back on the sidelines. Everyone in attendance adhered to the guidelines of social distancing and facial coverings. Rows were marked to make separation easy for fans.
The Logan Elm sideline had strategically space folding chairs for players to use along the track instead of a typical bench. Teays Valley plotted markers along their sideline between the 10 yard lines for players to maintain distancing.
WEATHER: En route to Pickaway County, it was hard to discern if small hail or just hard raindrops were hitting the van on the stretch between Adena Medical Center and Route 207. More storms hit later impacting several games across the state. In our case, thunder was detected 1:53 after the opening kick, resulting in a two hour delay. Play resumed at 9:05pm.
THANK YOU to Dan Bise, interim Logan Elm Athletic Boosters president, who invited our cameras to shelter-in-place with the concession crew while the storms rolled through.
The coin toss… no more than one team representative instead of a host of captains to meet at midfield to determine who gained the opening possession.
Teams breaking from their offensive huddles, the center with ball in hand, ready to place it on the marker laid at the line of scrimmage by the officials. It just looks… weird.
Halftime shortened was shortened to 10 minutes from the normal 20-plus minutes.
No bands for the visiting team. There’s something about hearing the fight song played after a team scores a touchdown. It was missing. Teays Valley’s cheerleaders had the fight song on a boom box, but only played it for their routines. Perhaps other visiting teams will bring along a recorded version to fill that void.
Post game handshakes were eliminated. The teams lined up on the hash marks, tipped their caps, waved as the went their respective ways
It was indeed different, but was also good to be back!
NEW VIDEO – LOGAN ELM MARCHING BAND OF PRIDE: The Litter Media cameras fought through the rain to capture the shortened version of the Logan Elm Marching Band’s halftime performance Friday night, August 28th. WATCH HERE: https://youtu.be/yeeuE1ktADU
#LitterMediaGOTW SEPTEMBER 4th: Our Litter Media cameras will be at Huntington as the Huntsmen host the Southeastern Panthers.
COLUMBUS, Ohio – With the high school football regular-season set to begin this week, the Ohio High School Athletic Association has provided details and reminders regarding team protocols, game management changes and the new playoff format.
There were 709 member schools originally planning to play 11-man football in Ohio this fall, but approximately 60 schools have either paused or cancelled football due to the COVID-19 pandemic. On August 18, Governor Mike DeWine asked the OHSAA to create participation opportunity for those schools that don’t play sports this fall, but it is unlikely that additional tournaments would be held in the spring for fall sports.
“Our schools are so excited to get the season started and they are taking ownership of the new safety guidelines so they can have a season,” said Beau Rugg, OHSAA Senior Director of Sport Management and Officiating. “As we saw in the spring, sports can be shut down due to COVID-19 spread, so our schools, coaches and student-athletes want to do everything they can to play as many games this fall as possible. Teams must continue to follow the safety protocols that have been put in place, including wearing a facial covering, staying 6-feet apart and washing their hands.”
The new ODH order permits contact sports, including the fall sports of field hockey, soccer and football, to move forward with gamesagainst other schools. The Governor confirmed support for Ohio’s coaches to inspire their student-athletes to continue following safety precautions so that all sports can be played. See the full release.
SEASON SCHEDULE AND FORMAT
At the recommendation of the Governor’s Office, the OHSAA announced on August 7 that the season would end earlier than previously scheduled and that every team could enter the playoffs, which will begin October 9-10. The Harbin computer ratings will not be used this season. See the full release
GAME MANAGEMENT CHANGES
• Up to 60 players may dress for games.
• The team box on the sideline has been extended from the 10-yard line to the opposite 10-yard line so that coaches and players can adhere to social distancing guidelines.
• All coaches, players, medical staff, game workers, media and spectators must wear a facial covering at all times, other than the 22 players on the field of play.
• The OHSAA recommends that halftimes be shortened to 10 minutes (plus three minutes for warm-up) and that team members be kept socially distanced outside their locker room. The host school will determine the specific length of halftime.
• Timeouts may be extended to two minutes in length
• Officials will have limited contact with the ball. The players on the offensive team will handle the ball and take it with them to their huddle. The umpire will place an orange bean bag at the spot where the ball will be snapped.
• Each player should have his/her own water bottle.
• Players and coaches from the visiting team should not use a locker room, therefore they should arrive already fully or partially dressed in their game uniform.
• Pregame handshakes (captains and officials) and postgame handshakes lines are not permitted.
• Schools must inform the OHSAA of their intention to participate in the playoffs by September 17.
• New playoff regions will be drawn on September 18. Divisional assignments will not change.
• Schools may withdraw from the playoffs without penalty until September 24.
• Playoff regional seeding will be determined by a vote of the coaches in each region during the week of September 28. Depending on the number of teams in each bracket, it is possible that the top seed(s) may have a first-round bye.
• All playoff contests through the regional semifinals (and possibly the regional finals) will be hosted by the higher seeded team.
• Playoff games will be held on Friday and Saturday nights beginning October 9-10. Divisions, I, II, III and VII will play on Friday nights. Divisions IV, V and VI will play on Saturday nights.
• The number of playoff rounds will be dependent upon the number of schools entering the playoffs in each division. It is expected that the state championship games will be held November 13-14 and/or November 20-21.
• Schools eliminated from the OHSAA playoffs or that choose not to enter the OHSAA playoffs have the option to schedule additional regular season contests through Saturday, November 14 (maximum of 10 regular season contests permitted).
Spectrum News 1 will continue with its OHSAA Friday Night Lights Game of the Week live telecasts, which includes scholarship contributions to a male and female student-athlete from the host school (or two males if the school is all-male).
On August 4, the OHSAA announced that the host school now makes the decision on all requests for live video of regular-season games, including media. See the full release
By order of the Ohio Department of Health, only 15 percent of the stadium’s permanent seating capacity may be admitted into the game. Players, coaches, officials, cheerleaders, band members, game workers and media do not count toward that 15 percent capacity.
INSPECTORS TO ATTEND GAMES
Governor DeWine has asked the OHSAA to assemble a large team of inspectors who will attend games to ensure that all safety protocols are being followed. The inspectors, which will be paid by the Governor’s Office, will work with the host site’s compliance officer and/or Athletic Director and utilize a checklist of items. The intent of the inspector program is to educate those at the game regarding proper safety protocols, but the OHSAA may enact penalties through Bylaw 11 if necessary.
2021 SCHEDULE NOTES
On May 22, the OHSAA announced that the 2021 season will start a week earlier and the playoffs will be expanded to include 12 teams from each region, and thus span six rounds. The top four seeds in each region will have a first-round bye. See the full release
Practice Start Date: August 1 (additional details TBA)
Since Friday’s announcement by the OHSAA and its plan for six regular season games with all football teams being eligible for the post season beginning October 9th, leagues are juggling their schedules.
The Frontier Athletic Conference released its schedule Monday, leaving the first week open for non-conference games and essentially moving the conference games up from October 2nd on its previous schedule.
One source tells Litter Media the Ohio Valley Conference has elected to play six league games. Another says the Scioto Valley Conference will play a six game conference schedule and play a seventh after the playoffs begin and teams are eliminated.
The Mid State League was actively reworking its football schedule Monday.
Governor Mike DeWine danced around the topic of high school football when asked by reporters in his Tuesday news conference. It was speculated the Governor would address the topic today, but now football fans as well as the other fall contact sports (soccer and field hockey) will likely have to wait until his next news conference, Thursday.
Meanwhile, school versus school scrimmages have been scrapped and the shuffling with schedules continues for athletic directors across the state.
The Frontier Athletic Conference revamped schedule:
WEEK 1 – August 28: Wheelersburg at Chillicothe, Hillsboro at Western Brown, Jackson at Logan, Eastern Pike at McClain, Circleville at Miami Trace, Washington CH at Minford.
WEEK 2 – September 4: Washington CH at Chillicothe, Jackson at McClain, Hillsboro at Miami Trace
WEEK 3 – September 11: Chillicothe at Hillsboro, McClain at Miami Trace, Washington CH at Jackson
WEEK 4 – September 18: Chillicothe at McClain, Hillsboro at Washington CH, Miami Trace at Jackson
WEEK 5 – September 25: Miami Trace at Chillicothe, Hillsboro at Jackson, McClain at Washington CH
WEEK 6 – October 2: Jackson at Chillicothe, McClain at Hillsboro, Miami Trace at Washington CH
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Following a recommendation this week from the Governor’s Office to shorten the season due to concerns that COVID-19 may spike in early winter, the Ohio High School Athletic Association announced Friday that if high school football games are approved by the Governor, all teams will enter the playoffs beginning October 9 and the state championship games will be played no later than November 21.
The OHSAA Board of Directors, which assisted OHSAA staff to create the proposal and approved it by a 9-0 vote, considers this a win-win situation for all schools since it will not matter how many games each team has played leading up to the playoffs. Instead of the computer ratings system determining which teams qualify for the playoffs, the coaches in each region will conduct a tournament seed meeting the week of September 28 to form the regional bracket, similar to the process in other OHSAA team sports.
Schools may keep their first six previously scheduled games, but all regular-season football contracts are now voidable by either school, especially in the event that conferences redo their league schedules to fit into the first six weeks. In addition, the OHSAA will determine new playoff regions in September. Schools that are eliminated from the playoffs may continue to schedule regular-season games up until November 14.
Schools that have currently paused sports could still begin their season in September or early October and compete in the playoffs. Schools are not required to enter the playoffs if they would rather play regular-season games up until November 14.
“To both ensure we can offer students the opportunity to participate in education-based athletes but do so with their best interests in mind, we believe this modified plan offers a positive solution by addressing many of the concerns of our member schools,” said Jeff Cassella, president of the OHSAA Board of Directors and athletic administrator at Mentor High School. “Those that are able to start their seasons on time will be able to do so. Those that are starting later can still have a season. Add in the option of all schools entering the playoffs and the possibility of schools still being able to play 10 regular season contests, and this plan is helpful to virtually all of our schools.”
The highest number of responses to one of the questions posed of superintendents, principals and athletic administrators in a recent OHSAA membership survey indicated that nearly 60 percent (890 of 1,498 respondents) favored either reducing the regular season and maintaining full OHSAA tournaments or maintaining the full regular season and maintaining full OHSAA tournaments.
A decision on spectators at contact sports has not yet been made, however the OHSAA believes that at a minimum parents should be permitted to attend.
As a reminder, four of the OHSAA’s fall sports have been determined to be low-contact by the Governor’s Office and thus are permitted to have contests with other schools, including golf, tennis, volleyball and cross country. The OHSAA’s fall sports of field hockey, soccer and football have been determined to be high-contact sports and the OHSAA continues to work with the Governor’s Office and the Ohio Department of Health toward modified protocols for those three sports to have contests.
• Regular-season games will begin the week of August 24 (same regular-season starting date).
• All teams eligible to enter the OHSAA playoffs. New regions will be determined in September.
• Number of playoff rounds dependent upon the number of schools entering the playoffs in each division. Coaches in each region will seed all playoff teams in the region to form a bracket, similar to other OHSAA sports.
• Schools eliminated from the OHSAA playoffs or that choose not to enter the OHSAA playoffs have the option to schedule additional regular season contests through Saturday, November 14 (maximum of 10 regular season contests permitted).
• Regular season Week 1: Week of August 24
• Regular season Week 2: Week of August 31
• Regular season Week 3: Week of September 7
• Regular season Week 4: Week of September 14
• Regular season Week 5: Week of September 21
• Regular season Week 6: Week of September 28
• Playoffs begin Friday, October 9
• State finals end no later than Saturday, Nov. 21
Other Playoff Details
• Playoff seeding will be via a vote of the coaches the week of September 28 (Harbin Ratings suspended for 2020 season)
• All playoff contests through the regional semifinals (and possibly the regional finals) will be hosted by the higher seeded team
• Schools must commit to participate in the playoffs by 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, September 17
• Playoff regions will be drawn on Friday, September 18
• Schools may withdraw from the playoffs without penalty until Thursday, September 24