With about one-third of the 72 Division I football programs residing in the Central District since the addition of a seventh division in 2013, the Ohio High School Athletic Association has faced the challenge of dividing those teams among four equally sized regions.
The OHSAA elected to split the map last season to feature 12 teams from central Ohio in Region 2 and 10 in Region 3, but Division I reportedly is getting a new look for the coming season.
The Ohio High School Football Coaches Association announced June 12 that Delaware, Dublin Coffman, Dublin Jerome, Hilliard Bradley and Marysville have been placed in Region 2 along with programs from the Dayton and Toledo areas and Newark has moved to Region 1 along with teams from the Cleveland area.
The OHSAA confirmed the changes June 13.
A total of 24 teams from the Central District now reside in Division I with the additions of New Albany and Westerville North, both of which competed in Division II last season. The Eagles and Warriors will be in Region 3 along with 16 other area teams, including Lancaster.
Last fall, six central Ohio teams made the Region 2 playoffs and another four made the postseason in Region 3.
While Reynoldsburg and Olentangy Liberty were the No. 1 and No. 4 seeds, respectively, in the Region 2 playoffs last season, both Gahanna and Westerville Central made the postseason in that region despite going 5-5 in the regular season. Liberty went 6-4 in the regular season but went on to win its third consecutive regional title.
All four of those teams, along with Region 2 playoff qualifier Olentangy Orange, have moved to Region 3.
Bradley was a playoff qualifier in Region 3 last season along with Hilliard Davidson, Pickerington Central and Hilliard Darby but is now in Region 2.
One of the state’s most competitive regions last fall was Division II, Region 7, where New Albany, Northland and Canal Winchester all fell short of qualifying for the playoffs despite the Indians finishing 9-1 and the Eagles and Vikings both going 7-3.
Region 7 has added Big Walnut, Dublin Scioto and Olentangy from Region 8 to a group of holdovers that includes Licking Heights, Mifflin, Watkins Memorial, Westerville South, Whetstone and Worthington Kilbourne. Olentangy Berlin also is in Region 7 after competing in Division III, Region 11 during its inaugural season last fall.
Meanwhile, last year’s Region 7 champion, Massillon Washington, has been moved to Division II, Region 5.
Canal Winchester will now compete in Region 8 along with a group of holdovers that includes Briggs and Franklin Heights, while St. Charles, Walnut Ridge, Columbus West and Whitehall also have moved to Region 8 after being in Region 7 last fall. DeSales also joins Region 8, moving up from Division III, Region 11.
Bexley has moved up to Region 11 after competing in Division IV, Region 15 last fall, while Marion-Franklin has dropped from Region 11 to Region 15.