SCIOTO COUNTY — It usually works out like this — or at least is anticipated as such say come the first of July.
With Wednesday’s official Ohio High School Athletic Association announcement of the football regional assignments for the 2021 season, the wondering is over as far as Scioto County clubs are concerned.
Every year, or so it seems, Scioto County’s nine teams — along with the three from Pike County — either are grouped in a region with teams from the East and/or Central Districts, or are shipped out westward with those from say Southwest District squads.
This season, it will be a split decision between bigger and smaller schools, as all five of Scioto’s Division V programs from a season ago remain in Region 19 — as do the Valley Indians again in Division VI, Region 23.
As previously announced, schools’ divisional assignments for the upcoming 2021-22 academic year will remain the same as the 2020-21 school year in all sports.
However, regional assignments for football were subject to change —and they did just that for Scioto County’s three smallest teams.
A year ago, Notre Dame, East and Green —and Eastern from Pike County —competed in Division VII and Region 27, joining other Southeast District teams along with those from the Central and East districts.
But this season, that same foursome plays in the Southwest-heavy Region 28 —which is dominated by programs from the immediate Cincinnati, Dayton and Springfield areas.
That’s the Miami Valley to you and me, as Region 28 also stretches north and westward —to even include arguably the top smallest-school state power in Maria Stein Marion Local.
Valley, a young team from a year ago which sported just six seniors, won two playoff games in Region 23 — and returns there along with the majority of the 2020 clubs, including Barnesville, which the Indians lost to in the quarterfinals round.
The two teams the Indians defeated in the opening two rounds —Johnstown Northridge and Worthington Christian —also return.
That region is actually heavy with Lawrence County teams —including Coal Grove, Rock Hill and Fairland from the Ohio Valley Conference and Symmes Valley from the Southern Ohio Conference Division I.
Also noteworthy with Region 23 is West Jefferson moving over from Region 24 — as the Roughriders, which lost to Ironton in the Division V state semifinals two years ago, dropped down to Division VI last year.
In Division V and Region 19, the heavy hitters and usual suspects are all back from the past two years — including back-to-back regional champion and state runner-up Ironton, back-to-back regional runner-up Ridgewood, and back-to-back regional semifinalist Wheelersburg.
Wheelersburg won two playoff games last season and defending SOC I champion Northwest won one —as the Mohawks’ 21-20 thrilling opening-round win over Portsmouth was the school’s first-ever playoff game.
Wheelersburg, Northwest, Minford, Portsmouth (OVC) and West will all be back in Region 19 from Scioto County — as will Oak Hill from the SOC II and Ironton, Chesapeake and South Point from the OVC.
Valley, Wheelersburg, Northwest, Minford and West are all SOC II teams —with Waverly returning as the SOC II champion, and once again in Division IV and Region 16.
Like the Portsmouth area, the immediate Chillicothe area is another that often treks westward — with Waverly playing in Region 16 more seasons than it does in say Southeast, Central and East-oriented Region 15.
The 2021 football regions are posted at https://www.ohsaa.org/Sports-Tournaments/Football/Football-2021
The 10-week regular season begins the week of Aug. 16, with the top 16 schools in each region qualifying for the playoffs that begin the final weekend in October.
In all sports, coaches have an unlimited number of days from June 1 through July 31 to conduct voluntary conditioning, strength training and instructional opportunities.
In football, helmets may be worn during summer voluntary sessions.
Also in the sport of football, there is a mandatory five-day acclimatization period for all student-athletes prior to contact.
Two of those days can be completed in July, so that shoulder pads can be worn on the first day of official practice on Aug. 1.
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Information from the Ohio High School Athletic Association was used in this story.
Reach Paul Boggs at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1926, by email at [email protected], or on Twitter @BoggsSports © 2021 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved