COLUMBUS — The Ohio High School Athletic Association announced the regional brackets for the football playoffs on Thursday, which currently include 648 schools that will take part in the 2020 postseason.
The brackets and other playoff information are posted at: https://www.ohsaa.org/Sports-Tournaments/Football/Football-2020/2020-OHSAA-Football-Playoffs-Coverage
In a normal season, 224 schools qualify for the playoffs, with eight schools from each of 28 regions earning a bid through the OHSAA’s Harbin computer ratings system, which will not be used this season.
However, this season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the playoffs will begin in Week 7 (Oct. 9-10) — and all teams could opt in.
Only one team in Scioto County — Green —opted out, and was to be in Division VII Region 27.
The county’s playoff adventure begins next Friday night (Oct. 9), as those Region 27 tilts take place.
Notre Dame is the 21st seed and travels to 12th-seeded Conotton Valley, while 22nd-seeded East is at 11th-seeded Meigs Eastern.
The Notre Dame-Conotton Valley winner goes to fifth-seeded Newark Catholic for the second round, while the East and Meigs Eastern winner is at sixth-seeded Caldwell.
The area’s other Eastern — Pike Eastern and which is a member of the Southern Ohio Conference Division I along with Notre Dame and East — is the eighth seed and has a first-round bye.
Other Region 27 byes belong to No. 1 Trimble, No. 2 East Knox, No. 3 River, No. 4 Danville, No. 5 Newark Catholic, No. 6 Caldwell and No. 7 Shadyside.
Next Saturday (Oct. 10), it’s all about Division V and Region 19 — as the third-seeded Wheelersburg Pirates were the only Scioto County club to earn an opening-round bye.
The Pirates play the winner of two Southeast District teams — as 19th-seeded Chesapeake is at No. 14-seed Portsmouth West.
Should West win, it would be a rematch of Friday night’s regular-season finale between the Senators and Pirates.
The bottom of that bracket features two Scioto County clubs —22nd-seeded Portsmouth at 11th-seeded Northwest.
That winner will travel to Columbus to play sixth-seeded Bishop Ready the following Saturday night.
Similar to Northwest (11th) and West (14th), the Minford Falcons drew a mid-level Region 19 seed —as the 12th-seeded Falcons host 21st-seeded Piketon in the opening round.
This is a rematch from the 2012 Division IV regional quarterfinals, with the winner venturing the following Saturday night to fifth-seeded Harvest Prep.
The other byes belong to seventh-seeded Liberty Union, fourth-seeded Columbus Academy, second-seeded Ridgewood and top-seeded and defending Division V state runner-up Ironton.
The Valley Indians are the only county club in Division VI, and drew the 13th seed in Region 23 — landing them a first-round home affair with 20th-seeded Johnstown Northridge.
The winner will play at fourth-seeded Worthington Christian, as the other Region 23 byes belong to No. 1 Fort Frye, No. 2 Centerburg, No. 3 Fairland, No. 5 Barnesville, No. 6 Nelsonville-York and No. 7 Shenandoah.
PLAYOFF SCHEDULE AND FORMAT
Earlier this week, the head coaches in each region voted to determine the seeding in their regions.
On Thursday, the OHSAA placed teams on brackets according to the seeds.
Many of the higher seeds will have a first-round bye in most regions.
Divisions, I, II, III and VII will play on Friday nights.
Divisions IV, V and VI will play on Saturday nights.
All games kick off at 7 p.m.
For each game through at least the regional semifinals, the higher-seeded team will have the first opportunity to host the game.
If the higher-seeded team cannot host, the other team will host the game.
The OHSAA will determine sites for the regional finals, state semifinals and state championships.
If a team is unable to play a playoff game on the assigned day according to the bracket, its opponent will advance on the bracket.
Schools eliminated from the OHSAA playoffs or that chose not to enter the playoffs have the option to schedule additional regular-season contests through Saturday, Nov. 14 (maximum of 10 regular season contests permitted).
The OHSAA did send playoff ticketing guidelines and information to schools on Friday and will meet virtually with all playoff schools on Monday morning to discuss.
According the latest order from the Ohio Department of Health and the Governor, only 15-percent of the stadium’s permanent seating capacity are permitted to attend games, unless the site has been approved for a variance by the Ohio Department of Health.
Note that the home team can have its band in attendance for its games, while both teams can have cheerleaders.
All playoff tickets will be sold online through www.OHSAA.org/tickets, and will be available starting on Tuesday, Oct. 6.
STATE CHAMPIONSHIP GAMES
The Division I state championship game will be played on Friday, Nov. 13.
The specific dates and times for the state championship games in Divisions II through VII will be announced at a later date, but will be played within the Nov. 19-22 date range.
Sites will be announced at a later date as well, but it is unlikely that all seven games will be played at the same venue.
There will be no state championship games that happen simultaneously, as each game will have its own time slot.
MEDIA COVERAGE AND BROADCASTS
The OHSAA encourages media coverage of all games and working media members are not counted toward the capacity limits for spectators.
For press box access during playoff games, host sites should follow the OHSAA priority seating instructions posted at: https://www.ohsaa.org/Portals/0/Sports/Football/FBMediaPressBoxMemo.pdf
Broadcast fees will apply except for webcasts by school-owned websites.
The OHSAA will send a media advisory on Monday with details and the fees chart.
Spectrum News 1 is the official television partner of the OHSAA and will select several playoff games each weekend to televise live. Only Spectrum can provide live television coverage of OHSAA football playoff games. All other television broadcasts can start at 10 p.m. the same day as the game.
Live video streaming will be permitted for games not selected by Spectrum News 1 at rates set by the OHSAA, which will be announced on Monday, Oct. 5.
SCHOOLS TO SUBMIT INFORMATION
TO ROYAL PUBLISHING
All playoff schools are to submit a roster and team picture to Royal Publishing per instructions sent by the OHSAA next week.
Additional items are to be sent to the OHSAA.
OHSAA COVID-19 GUIDANCE CENTER
All sports in Ohio — at all levels — are under the direction of the latest Ohio Department of Health order, signed on Aug. 19 by Ohio Governor Mike DeWine.
The order and additional guidance from the ODH and OHSAA are posted at: https://www.ohsaa.org/Home/OHSAA-COVID-19-Correspondence