Despite winning its final game of the 2017 regular season to improve to 7-3, the Reynoldsburg High School football team missed the Division I, Region 3 playoffs by 0.05 of a point in the computer ratings.
Since they’re still in the OCC-Ohio Division with defending state champion Pickerington Central (Region 3) and two other 2017 playoff qualifiers in Gahanna (Region 2) and Pickerington North (Region 3), the Raiders likely will have a challenging road to the postseason again this fall.
However, the regional map the OHSAA unveiled June 6 at least gives Reynoldsburg a different landscape from which to compete.
The Raiders now will compete in Region 2 along with Gahanna, three other Franklin County schools and schools from Delaware, Hancock, Licking, Lorain, Lucas and Union counties.
They are the only Division I program in central Ohio that will shift regions under the new map.
Last year there were 73 teams in Division I, but Massillon Perry is dropping to Division II after being a Region 1 playoff qualifier and isn’t being replaced in the division.
Taking the spot of Reynoldsburg in Region 3 will be Springboro, which went 5-5 and finished 11th in Region 4, while Medina and Brunswick are moving from Region 2 to Region 1.
Last year, Medina went 4-6 and Brunswick finished 5-5 as both missed the postseason, but Medina made the playoffs in 2016.
Here are other notable regional alignment changes:
•Also switching regions but staying in the same division are Big Walnut, Briggs, Dublin Scioto, Franklin Heights and Teays Valley, all of which are moving from Division II, Region 7 to Region 8.
•Only one area program is changing divisions, as Worthington Christian will compete in Division VI, Region 23 after having been in Division V the past three years. The Warriors, who are seeking their first playoff berth, competed in Division VI in their inaugural season in 2014.
•Dresden Tri-Valley, which beat Hartley for the Division III, Region 11 title last fall and went on to finish as state runner-up, is moving up to Division II.
•PLAYOFFS RETURN TO SATURDAYS — Also during its board of directors meeting June 6, the OHSAA approved a change to the playoff schedule beginning this fall.
After having all playoff games on Fridays during the first four rounds in 2017, the OHSAA is returning to a two-day format, with Divisions IV, V and VII playoff games being held on Saturdays while the other four divisions will remain on Fridays.
According to Beau Rugg, the OHSAA’s director of officiating and sports management and its football administrator, a drop in attendance during the first year of having all playoff games on the same night figured into the decision to go back to the two-day format.
All playoff games will start at 7 p.m. on both Fridays and Saturdays.
“We still have good attendance throughout the playoffs, but the overall total attendance dropped in 2017 when we moved all the games to Friday,” Rugg said. “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.”
The first day of practice for football will be July 30, with the regular season starting the week of Aug. 20.
There will be one state final held Nov. 29, three on Nov. 30 and three on Dec. 1.
For the second consecutive year, the state title games for all seven divisions will be held at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton.