COLUMBUS, Ohio (WKBN) – The Ohio High School Athletic Association Board of Directors has approved an increase in the number of football playoff qualifiers to sixteen teams per region.
That means a total of 448 teams will qualify for the football postseason play state-wide. Expanding to sixteen schools per region keeps the postseason at six weeks, simply eliminating the bye weeks.
The format of the regional playoffs has also been changed.
In a release from the OHSAA, it is explained that the higher seeded team will host first and second round playoff games, instead of only the first round, before neutral sites are used beginning with the regional semifinals.
In the first round, the No. 16 seed will play at the No. 1 seed, the No. 15 seed will play at the No. 2 seed, etc.
“Last fall we received overwhelmingly positive feedback when we allowed every team to enter the football playoffs due to the shortened season because of COVID-19,” said Doug Ute, OHSAA Executive Director. “We know there are some who want to keep the football postseason to a smaller number of schools, but the postseason tournament gives such a positive experience for our student-athletes, the schools and their communities that we felt strongly about giving that opportunity to more schools to make the playoffs. And football remains the only OHSAA sport in which not every team automatically qualifies for the postseason.”
The site of the state championship games has not yet been determined, but the format will include one game Thursday, December 2, and two games each on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, December 3-5.
During the first five rounds of the playoffs, Division I, II, III and IV schools will play on Friday nights, while Division V, VI and VII schools will play on Saturday nights.
2021 OHSAA Football Playoff Schedule
October 29-30 – First Round at Higher Seeded Teams
November 5-6 – Regional Quarterfinals at Higher Seeded Teams
November 12-13 – Regional Semifinals at Neutral Sites
November 19-20 – Regional Finals at Neutral Sites
November 26-27 – State Semifinals at Neutral Sites
December 2-5 – State Championships, Site TBD, one game Thursday, two games each day on Friday, Saturday and Sunday