OHSAA APPROVES ALL FRIDAY FOOTBALL PLAYOFF FORMAT
After years of study and careful consideration, the Ohio High School Athletic Association has decided that Friday is the best night for high school football playoff games. The OHSAA board of directors voted to move Division I playoff games to Friday night for the first time since 1980 last year, and it followed suit by moving all seven divisions to Friday nights in 2017. The only exception to all Friday playoff contests will be state championship games, which will take place November 30 through December 2 at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton.
“For a few years now we have studied the possibility of moving all playoff games to Friday nights for the first four rounds,” OHSAA Assistant Commissioner Beau Rugg said. “Due to so many more college football games being played on Saturday nights, attendance at our Saturday playoff games has steadily declined, and more potential playoff sites have said they cannot host games on Saturdays. We now have enough playoff sites to handle all the games on one night, and the football coaches association was in support of this change, too, because teams will get to stay on their normal weekly schedule of playing on Friday night.”
Jackson coach Tim Budd doesn't see much change for his own program under the new structure.
“Even our scrimmages are on Friday,” Budd said. “From the time we start competing. We're in a routine of Monday through Thursday preparation, Friday game and Saturday film. That would continue into the playoffs, so as a coach it won't affect me at all. It will probably have a bigger affect on fans because they can't choose to go to a couple of games in a week. “
Here's a look at key dates provided by the OHSAA with regard to the 2017 season:
2017 OHSAA Football Schedule
Monday, July 31 – Practice begins (mandatory 5-day acclimatization period)
Monday, Aug. 21 – Regular season begins (719 schools playing football in 2017)
Tuesday, Sept. 19 – Weekly computer point releases begin
Saturday, Oct. 28 – Regular season ends
Sunday, Oct. 29 – Final computer points and playoff qualifiers announced (224 total qualifiers)
Friday, Nov. 3 – Regional quarterfinals played at higher seed, 7:30 p.m. (112 games)
Friday, Nov. 10 – Regional semifinals played at neutral sites, 7:30 p.m. (56 games)
Friday, Nov. 17 – Regional finals played at neutral sites, 7:30 p.m. (28 games)
Friday, Nov. 24 – State semifinals played at neutral sites, 7:30 p.m. (14 games)
State Championship Games at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium, Canton
Championship game time assignments will be announced Saturday, Nov. 25
Thursday, Nov. 30 – Division I, II, V or VII, 7:30 p.m.
Friday, Dec. 1 – Division I, II, V or VII, Game times at 10 a.m., 3 p.m. and 8 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 2 – Division III, IV or VI, Game times at 10 a.m., 3 p.m. and 8 p.m.