OHSAA returns to previous playoff format
Playoff games back
to Friday, Saturday
By Dan Hiner
The Ohio High School Athletic Association’s football playoff format has been changed for the second straight year. But for some of the local coaches, the change was for the better.
The OHSAA Board of Directors approved going back to the previous format, splitting the playoff games between Fridays and Saturdays.
Divisions I, II, III and VI will play their playoff games on Fridays while Divisions IV, V and VII will play on Saturdays. All games will kick off at 7 p.m.
Last season, the OHSAA experimented with having all playoff games played on Fridays at 7:30 p.m. Only the state title games were played throughout the weekend.
South Range head coach Dan Yeagley is pleased with the decision to go back to the old format. Yeagley believes the original format will provide more excitement in the area.
“I know it hurt attendance because I’m sure people would have liked to watch us play or we would have liked to go watch [another team] play on the opposite night,” Yeagley said. “Just to watch fellow coaches, fellow teammates — local people — play ... I think it is better that way.”
Canfield head coach Mike Pavlansky also thought the move is better for high school football fans.
“From a northeast Ohio perspective, in our neck of the woods there’s a lot of high school sports fans that want to get out and see as many games as possible, especially in the playoffs,” Pavlansky said. “From that standpoint, I think it’s a positive.”
Neither coach said last year’s postseason schedule impacted their team. Yeagley and Pavlansky said their teams were focused on their playoff games and didn’t have time to worry about the schedule.
In a press release, Beau Rugg, OHSAA Director of Officiating and Sport Management and the OHSAA’s football administrator, said a drop in attendance during the playoffs played a part in the decision.
“Some parts of the state liked staying away from Saturdays for playoff games, but we also received quite a bit of feedback, mainly from the smaller schools, that they hoped we would return to having games on Saturdays, too, so their communities could see two games per weekend instead of one,” Rugg said.
The Board of Directors also agreed to a one-year extension with Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton to host the state title games. The championship games were moved to Canton from Ohio Stadium in Columbus in 2017.
The 2018 high school football season begins the week of Aug. 20 and the playoffs start on Nov. 2.