The start of the high school football preseason is Monday. No team will get a jump on Trotwood-Madison, which will kick off its first day of conditioning just a few seconds into Monday in a midnight blast.
This is a rare time Ohio high school football practice begins in July. That’s to more easily coordinate five consecutive — and required — break-in conditioning days before contact is allowed.
All other fall sports begin their preseasons Tuesday. The boys and girls golf seasons begin competition first, on Friday. The other fall sports seasons are boys and girls soccer, girls tennis, girls volleyball, girls field hockey and boys and girls cross country.
Here’s five things to know about this football season:
1. The five-day acclimation period limits players’ equipment to helmet only on the first and second days, shoulder pads added for the third and fourth days and full pads on the fifth day. Players must participate in all five acclimation days — no matter when they start — before contact drills, which are allowed on the sixth day of practice.
2. The state championships return to Stark County for at least the 2017-18 seasons at the new Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton. This was a city-defining initiative that transformed a razed Fawcett Stadium and its surrounding neighborhood into a mix of fine dining, business loop and entertainment center, with the Pro Football Hall of Fame as its centerpiece.
The OHSAA plans to rotate the state title games at Canton and Ohio Stadium in Columbus on an intermittent schedule.
3. This is the first season the Ohio High School Athletic Association will implement its landmark competitive balance initiative. Every roster member is given a numerical value, based on residence and where they began the ninth grade. The sum of those values determines which divisions teams will be placed in for postseason play.
That has resulted in some major reshuffling of lower divisions. What it hasn’t done is address the unchecked discrepancy of student enrollment among Division I programs.
4. Of the 822 OHSAA member schools, 719 have football programs. There are seven divisions, D-I the largest. Each division is composed of four regions. Based on a computer point system that combines wins and wins by a defeated opponent, the top eight teams in each region will qualify for the playoffs, 224 teams.
5. A streak of six straight seasons of Midwest Athletic Conference members Coldwater and Marion Local playing for state championships will end. Why? Because both have been lumped in D-VI, Region 24. Coldwater dropped from D-V after other teams were affected by the competitive balance formula.
MAC MADNESS: Coldwater, Marion Local in same division/region
Barring playoff upsets, the rivals would meet in a Week 13 regional final. They’ve combined for nine state titles since 2011.
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