COLUMBUS -- The Ohio High School Athletic Association has announced the football regions and schedule format for the 2017 playoffs.
New in 2017, all playoff games during the first four rounds will be played on Friday nights. Also announced was the format for the state championship games, which will be played at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton Nov. 30 through Dec. 2.
The new regions and playoffs format were approved last Thursday by the OHSAA Board of Directors at their June meeting as part of the 2017 football tournament regulations. New divisions were announced on April 6.
"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."
Among the local schools, there has been some movement from division to division.
Cuyahoga Falls has moved down from Division I to Division II due to lower enrollment numbers. Falls will compete in the Division II, Region 5 standing, as will Walsh Jesuit, which stays put from last season.
Woodridge will back up to Division III this season due to increased enrollment numbers. The Bulldogs will compete in Division III, Region 9.
Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy will remain in Division IV, Region 13.
Football practice for the 2017 season will open on July 31. Opening night for the four local teams will be Aug. 25.
All regional quarterfinal game will be played Nov. 3 at 7:30 p.m. with regional semifinals Nov. 10, regional finals Nov. 17 and state semifinals Nov. 24.