By John Bombatch
BEAVERCREEK — Beavercreek head varsity football coach Nic Black was encouraged by the Ohio High School Athletic Associations’ recent changes that were announced in regard to redistricting the Division I football playoff format.
The OHSAA announced on Thursday that it was going to divide the Division I football playoff format from the two-district format it had last season to a four-region alignment, similar to that already used by smaller schools in Divisions II through VII.
“For us and the state, I feel like this is a good change for the structure of the Division I playoffs,” Black said by email. “It allows Division I to follow the same process as all other divisions throughout the end of the season.”
Beavercreek and fellow Greater Western Ohio Conference schools Huber Heights Wayne, Springfield and Kettering Fairmont were placed in Division I Region 3, which has mostly Columbus-area schools in it.
Black says he doesn’t see the Beavers changing up their non-conference schedule because of this change.
“I love the current make up of our schedule, with our neighborhood rivalries as the backbone of our non-conference schedule, and those games being secured from a scheduling perspective an least for the near future, I see no reason for this change to affect our competitive relationships with those schools,” Black said. “The GWOC provides us with plenty of opportunity and potential computer points through league play and crossover games to EARN a playoffs spot.”
Teams in D-I, Region 3 will be: Beavercreek, Columbus Westland, Dublin Coffman, Gahanna Lincoln, Grove City, Grove City Central Crossing, Hilliard Bradley, Hilliard Darby, Hilliard Davidson, Huber Heights Wayne, Kettering Fairmont, Lancaster, Pickerington Central, Pickerington North, Reynoldsburg, Springfield, Thomas Worthington, Upper Arlington.
Fellow GWOC Central Division foes Centerville, Clayton Northmont, as well as GWOC South schools Lebanon and Springboro, are now in Division I’s Region 4 with mostly Cincinnati-area schools, including perennial powers Moeller, Elder, Colerain, Lakota East and Lakota West among others.
The change will enable Beavercreek fans to potentially travel shorter distances to see their team play an early round playoff game. Before, the entire Columbus area (with the exception of 1-2 area schools) and all of Cincinnati were aligned in Region 2, while the Cleveland-Toledo-Akron-Canton area made up Region 1.
“This change has the potential to help all schools in the Division 1 group in terms of travel at least for early round playoff contests, that is a geographical fact. With regard to how this effects Beavercreek and the other schools in our region you are going to see Regional playoff contests which look more like the old breakdown. In other words. we will have to go through Columbus to get to a contest against a Cincinnati or South Dayton opponent,” Black said.
According to the OHSAA press release, the new D-I format will be included in the 2016 football tournament regulations that will be voted on by the Board of Directors at its next meeting June 2. Any other proposed changes to the tournament regulations will also be acted upon by the Board in June.
The 2016 Fall football regular season begins on Aug. 22.
John Bombatch can be reached at 937-372-4444, Ext. 2123.