Two central Ohio conferences are getting facelifts for football this fall.
The MSL is adding and shuffling teams, and the CCL is moving from two divisions to one four-team division. The latter is because Ready will be playing an MSL football schedule.
Ready will schedule MSL-Ohio Division teams for the next two seasons, but will not compete for a league title. In 2019, the Silver Knights will decide on whether the arrangement is beneficial and whether to become a member. The division also includes Bexley, Columbus Academy, Grandview, London, Whitehall and Liberty Union, which is moving over from the MSL-Buckeye for football only. The MSL-Ohio lost West Jefferson and Madison Plains to the Springfield-area Ohio Heritage Conference.
Aside from losing Liberty Union for football, the MSL-Buckeye remains the same. It also includes Amanda-Clearcreek, Bloom-Carroll, Circleville, Fairfield Union, Hamilton Township, Logan Elm and Teays Valley.
The MSL-Cardinal still includes Worthington Christian, which remains in the MSL-Ohio for all other sports, while Zanesville Rosecrans joins the Cardinal for all sports.
The division also includes Berne Union, Fairfield Christian, Fisher Catholic, Harvest Prep, Grove City Christian and Millersport. Wellington will play in the Cardinal for all sports but football.
“I’m pleased that we were able to fill out the Cardinal,” MSL commissioner Jim Hayes said. “It’s nice to have eight teams, which is a good round number to have. I would like to be able to get the Ohio up to eight schools, but we probably won’t be able to do that for a while. There aren’t a lot of teams (without leagues) to choose from.”
Grandview will be the smallest school in the MSL-Ohio, competing in Division VI, Region 23. Whitehall (Division II, Region 7) is the largest with Bexley (Region 15) and London (Region 16) in Division IV and Academy and Liberty Union in Division V, Region 19.
Ready also is in Region 19.
“I know our schedule just got a whole lot tougher,” Grandview coach Jason Peters said. “Everyone in the league is at least one or two divisions bigger than us, and Whitehall is in Division II. We’ll have our work cut out for us.”
In the CCL, instead of having DeSales, St. Charles and Watterson in the Silver Division and Hartley and Ready in the Gold Division, DeSales, Hartley, St. Charles and Watterson will play for one league championship.
The change won’t be that drastic since all of the schools except for Ready have been playing each other since 2014.
CCL commissioner Jim Jones stressed that Ready wasn’t leaving the league for the MSL.
“Ready is not necessarily going to the MSL and is still a vibrant part of our league,” Jones said. “(The Knights) will still play CCL schedules in the other sports. They also still will play one CCL school (in football) in two-year contracts. They are going to start with Hartley and then play another after that.”
Hartley coach Brad Burchfield likes how the new look for football still allows the CCL to remain vibrant.
“We still have one of the heavyweight leagues in all of Ohio,” said Burchfield, whose team has won back-to-back Division IV state championships. “We were able to consolidate and still have the CCL identity. We’re happy to have a league that continues to garner respect for the kids and the programs.”