»RELATED: Four are teams to play for state titles
»RELATED: Schedule set for 7 state championship games
Typically, the state football championships are loaded with private programs. Last season six of the 14 participating finals teams were privates. All but Cleveland St. Ignatius won, with Cincinnati St. Xavier defeated St. Ignatius in the D-I title game.
This season, Akron Archbishop Hoban (13-1) will be the only private school to play for a state title against Cincinnati Winton Woods (13-1) during Thursday’s 7:30 p.m. game. Hoban defeated Trotwood-Madison 30-0 last year to capture its second straight D-III championship.
Competitive balance is a numerical formula that accounts for students who reside outside a designated school district and all enrolled students. That combined number determines playoff divisions for most sports and will be annually revised by the OHSAA each spring.
»RELATED: Division VI All-Ohio team
»RELATED: Division VII All-Ohio team
• Four area teams have advanced to Week 15 games: Trotwood-Madison (GWOC American South), Clinton-Massie (Southern Buckeye Conference), Marion Local (Midwest Athletic Conference) and Minster (MAC).
Saturday’s state-title tripleheader is loaded with area reps. Defending champ Marion Local (14-0) will play Kirtland (14-0) in a D-VI showdown of the state’s top-ranked teams at 10 a.m. At 3 p.m. it’s Clinton-Massie (13-1) vs. No. 1 Steubenville (14-0) in the D-IV championship. Trotwood (14-0) is paired with Dresden Tri-Valley (13-1) in the seven-game finale at 8 p.m.
• Six of the chosen 14 are making a return to the title games. Besides Trotwood and Hoban, Steubenville was the D-IV runner-up to Columbus Bishop Hartley in 2015-16. Marion local is the defending D-VI champ. The Flyers defeated Cuyahoga Heights in the championship last season. Heights dropped a division and will play Minster for the D-VII title. Minster was defeated by Warren John F. Kennedy in the D-VII title game last season.
• Top-ranked Marion Local and No. 2 Kirtland is the only 1-vs.-2 game. Three other teams were declared Associated Press state poll champs: Trotwood, Steubenville and Pemberville Eastwood (D-V). Tri-Valley and Minster were the only unranked teams to qualify.
• The return to Stark County for the state championships ends a three-year run at Ohio Stadium in Columbus. Massillon’s Paul Brown Tiger Stadium will no longer be the site of any games. The Benson complex was built on the site of former Fawcett Stadium next to the NFL Hall of Fame. Championship weekend will eventually toggle between Columbus and Canton, although a specific timeline has not been announced.
• Marion Local is making its 12th title trip. That’s the most of all the participating teams and is No. 5 all-time in the state. The Flyers are 9-2 in title games. Tri-Valley and Pemberville Eastwood are both making their first appearance.
• All the games will be televised live on Spectrum Sports and broadcast by the OHSAA Radio Network.
• Trotwood’s girls basketball game against Northmont has been postponed and will be played at a later date.