Football Playoffs Bring Back Saturday Games

By: 
Brian Smith
Staff Writer

The Friday-only playoff experiment was short-lived and the road to state still leads to Canton this fall.

After the Ohio High School Athletic Association made all playoff games around the state Friday-only affairs a season ago, the organization overseeing Ohio's high school sports reversed course on Wednesday.

The OHSAA will return to using Saturday nights for several divisions during the playoffs. The group also announced that the 2018 title games will return to Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, where Minster captured the Division VI state title and Marion Local won the Division VII crown this past fall.

In the spring the OHSAA released attendance numbers for the playoffs. There were 34,106 fewer tickets sold in 2018 compared to 2017’s playoffs.  The attendance for the state championship games were up, though. The finals, which moved back to Canton after a few years in Columbus, drew 61,312 fans to newly-renovated Tom Benson Stadium, compared to the 55,412 tickets sold at Ohio Stadium in 2016.

“We still have good attendance throughout the playoffs, but the overall total attendance dropped in 2017 when we moved all the games to Fridays,” said Beau Rugg, OHSAA Director of Officiating and Sport Management and the OHSAA’s football administrator. “Some parts of the state liked staying away from Saturdays for playoff games, but we also received quite a bit of feedback, mainly from the smaller schools, that they hoped we would return to having games on Saturdays, too, so their communities could see two games per weekend instead of one.”
 
In November, playoff games in Divisions I, II, III and VI will be played on Fridays, while Division IV, V and VII playoff games will be played on Saturdays. Last year, the OHSAA experimented with having all playoff games on Friday nights during the first four rounds. In addition, all playoff games will kick off at 7 p.m. Previously, Friday playoff games kicked off at 7:30 p.m.
 
 
2018 OHSAA Football Schedule

  • Monday, July 30 – Start date for practice (5-day acclimatization regulation in effect)
  • Sunday, August 5 – Mandatory day off
  • Tuesday, August 7 through Saturday, August 18 – Scrimmages permitted
  • Monday, August 20 – Regular-season games may begin
  • Saturday, October 27 – Regular-season ends
  • Sunday, October 28 – Final computer points posted and playoff qualifiers announced
  • Friday, November 2 – Regional Quarterfinals in Divisions I, II, III and VI
  • Saturday, November 3 – Regional Quarterfinals in Divisions IV, V and VII
  • Friday, November 9 – Regional Semifinals in Divisions I, II, III and VI
  • Saturday, November 10 – Regional Semifinals in Divisions IV, V and VII
  • Friday, November 16 – Regional Finals in Divisions I, II, III and VI
  • Saturday, November 17 – Regional Finals in Divisions IV, V and VII
  • Friday, November 23 – State Semifinals in Divisions I, II, III and VI
  • Saturday, November 24 – State Semifinals in Divisions IV, V and VII
  • State Championship Games at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium, Canton (Nov. 29-Dec. 2)