OHSAA Football Notebook: Regional semifinals kick off tonight

Last week, 224 schools qualified for the 2018 OHSAA football playoffs. Now 112 remain in Week 12 for the regional semifinals, which will be played today and Saturday at neutral sites selected by the OHSAA.

Here are some noteworthy items about the state playoffs:

First-Round Playoff Results by Seed

Higher seeds (home teams) went 82-30 in the first round of the playoffs last week. No. 1 seeds went 26-2, No. 2 seeds went 20-8, No. 3 seeds went 21-7 and No. 4 seeds went 15-13. The two No. 8 seeds to win at No. 1 seeds included Division III, Region 10, Rocky River (defeated Clyde 27-17) and Division VII, Region 26, Leipsic (defeated Sycamore Mohawk 40-14). In both of those regions, only one higher seed/home team won in the first round.

In 2017 playoffs, the higher seeds went 83-29 in the first round. There was one No. 8 seed that won, as Reading defeated Casstown Miami East 27-25 in Div. V, Region 20. In 2016, first-round hosts went 80-32 and five No. 8 seeds won, including Avon Lake in Div. II (27-26 at Avon), Akron East in Div. III (50-37 at Marlington), Philo in Div. VI (42-7 at Heath), Garrettsville Garfield in Div. V (31-21 at Canfield South Range) and Columbus Bishop Ready in Div. VI (28-21 at Hannibal River). In 2015, first-round hosts went 81-31 and four No. 1 seeds lost.

First Round Success

Three schools continued their amazing success rate in the first round of the playoffs. St. Henry has been in the playoffs 17 times and is now 17-0 in first-round playoff games. Cincinnati Colerain is

now 20-0 in the first round, although one of its first-round games (1995) was later forfeited. Also of note, since 1998, Coldwater is 21-0 in the first-round of the playoffs (22-2 all-time in the first round).

In addition, three schools won their first-round playoff game nine straight years before losing, including Germantown Valley View, Mogadore and Newark Licking Valley.

Familiar Territory

The closest geographical proximity for two teams playing in the regional semis is between Columbus Bishop Hartley and Columbus Eastmoor Academy in Div. III, Region 11. Those two schools are less than two miles apart. There are three other games in which the opponents are less than 10 miles apart, including Coldwater vs. St. Henry (5 miles, Div. VI, Region 24), Leipsic vs. McComb (11 miles, Div. VII, Region 26) and Fort Loramie vs. Sidney Lehman Catholic (11 miles, Div. VII, Region 28).

Coldwater Ties St. Ignatius Playoff Streak

Coldwater has qualified for the playoffs for the 22nd-consecutive season, which ties the state record set initially by Cleveland St. Ignatius from 1988 through 2009. Coldwater recently went to the state championship game eight straight years (2009-16) to tie Newark Catholic (1980-87) for the state record of consecutive title game appearances. Cleveland St. Ignatius went to the state championship game six years in a row (1991-96).

* denotes active streak

School Consecutive Years in Playoffs (Years)

Cleveland St. Ignatius 22 (1988-2009)

* Coldwater 22 (1997-2018)

* Mogadore 20 (1999-2018)

Columbus St. Francis DeSales 18 (1994-2011)

* Kettering Archbishop Alter 18 (2001-2018)

* Steubenville 18 (2001-2018)

* Clarksville Clinton-Massie 17 (2002-2018)

Akron Manchester 15 (1991-2005)

Aurora 13 (2005-2017)

Cin. Archbishop Moeller 13 (2002-2014)

Coldwater and Marion Local Set Consecutive Playoff Wins Record

Coldwater (streak ended in 2016) and Maria Stein Marion Local (streak ended in 2015) recently set the OHSAA record for most consecutive playoff victories with 24.

No. School Years

24 Coldwater 2012-13-14-15-16

24 Maria Stein Marion Local 2011-12-13-14-15

23 Cleveland St. Ignatius 1991-92-93-94-95-96

17 Youngstown Ursuline 2008-09-10-12

17 Newark Catholic 84-85-86-87-88

16 Delphos St. John’s 1997-98-99-2000

15 Versailles 1993-94-95-96

13 Cincinnati Archbishop Moeller 1975-76-77-79-80-81

OHSAA Football by the Numbers

717 – High schools in Ohio that played football in 2018

7 – Divisions for the playoffs

28 – Total Regions (4 per division)

8 – Playoff qualifiers per region

32 – Playoff qualifiers per division

224 – Total playoff qualifiers

31.2 – Percentage of football playing schools that qualify

72 – Schools in Division I

108 – Average number of schools in Division II through VII

Proving the Pollsters

All 70 teams that were ranked in the Final Associated Press state poll qualified for the playoffs and they went 59-11 in the first round of the playoffs. Of note, In Division VII, Leipsic knocked off AP No. 1 Sycamore Mohawk, 40-14, in Region 26. In Division III, Thornville Sheridan defeated AP No. 2 Bellbrook, 27-19, in Region 10.

In 2017, all 70 teams ranked in the AP Top 10 made the playoffs and 35 of them reached the regional finals. Three poll champs in 2017 also won state titles on the field, including Trotwood-Madison (Div. III), Steubenville (Div. IV) and Maria Stein Marion Local (Div. VI). Also in 2016, two unranked teams reached the state finals, including Dresden Tri-Valley (Div. III, lost to Trotwood) and Minster (Div. VII, defeated Cuyahoga Heights).

Noting the Undefeated and the .500

Only 24 teams across Ohio went undefeated during the regular-season, which is the second-fewest in the playoff era (since 1972 – only 22 teams went undefeated in 2015). Last weekend in the first round, 20 of those undefeated teams won.

There are two matchups in the regional semifinals that include undefeated teams squaring off. In Region 5, No. 1 Akron Archbishop Hoban (11-0) takes on No. 5 Garfield Heights (11-0), while in Region 26, No. 2 Edgerton (11-0) will play No. 6 Pandora-Gilboa (11-0).

Last week, three undefeated teams played their regional quarterfinal game on the road, including Garfield Heights (Div. II, 5 seed in Region 5), McDonald (Div. VI, 5 seed in Region 21) and Pandora Gilboa (Div. VII, 6 seed in Region 26). Also of note, a record 11 teams with 5-5 records qualified for the playoffs this year. Only one of those 5-5 teams, Warren John F. Kennedy in Division VII, won their regional quarterfinal game.

Making History

Entering the 2018 season, 59 OHSAA member schools had never made the football playoffs. That number decreased by one as Springfield Northwestern (Division IV, Region 16) qualified this year for the first time (lost in first round).

The last team to win a state championship in its first year in the playoffs was Dublin Scioto in 1995. In 2017, four schools made the playoffs for the first time, including Lima Perry (Div. VII, Region 28), Galion Northmor (Div. VI, Region 23), Eastlake North (Div. II, Region 5) and Middletown Madison (Div. V, Region 20). The number of first-time playoff participants since 2000 included four in 2017, eight in 2016, eight in 2015, 10 in 2014, two in 2013, seven in 2012, eight in 2011, six in 2010, 14 in 2009, 12 in 2008, 14 in 2007, 10 in 2006, 12 in 2005, 16 in 2004, 12 in 2003, 21 in 2002, 17 in 2001 and 26 in 2000.