Marion Local and Springfield Shawnee are switching divisions in high school football.
Those were among two significant changes announced pertaining to the approved divisional breakdowns by the Ohio High School Athletic Association board of directors that were announced on Tuesday. The regions each team has been assigned will be announced next week.
Marion Local and Shawnee were among 31 schools throughout the state that moved down one division, Marion Local going to D-VII and Shawnee to D-V.
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Those were two of 17 area teams that were affected by the realignment, including five of the six Dayton City League teams.
Area teams that moved up one division were West Carrollton (now D-II), Milton-Union (D-IV), Waynesville (D-IV), Bethel (D-V), West Liberty-Salem (D-V), Minster (D-VI) and Triad (D-VI).
Other area teams that fell one division were Belmont (to D-III), Ponitz (D-IV), Thurgood Marshall (D-IV), Meadowdale (D-V), Anna (D-VI), Greeneview (D-VI), Tri-County North (D-VII) and Twin Valley South (D-VII).
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The significance of Marion Local’s drop from D-VI has an instant impact on Coldwater. The Midwest Athletic Conference powers were lumped together in the same division and region the past two seasons, both of which Marion Local defeated Coldwater in regional finals.
Prior to that, the rivals were in separate divisions and were state championship regulars. Coldwater played in eight consecutive D-V state title games from 2009-16, winning four (2012-15). Marion Local has toggled between Divisions VI-VII and played for those state titles each of the last eight seasons (2011-18), winning six.
Minster, yet another MAC power, played in D-VII state titles games in 2016-17, winning the latter.
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Shawnee goes from Division IV to D-V. The Braves fielded five straight playoff teams from 2009-13 and was the D-IV state runner-up in 2011.
Schools are assigned a postseason division in each sport by the OHSAA. A numerical formula is based on a competitive balance total that is derived from EMIS (enrollment) numbers and a fluctuating numerical scale from where roster members reside. A team’s division also could be affected by movement of other teams to or from the same division.
Football divisions are annually adjusted each spring since the OHSAA began its competitive balance initiative.
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There are more than 700 high school football programs in Ohio. The football preseason begins Thursday, Aug. 1. Most Week 1 games are on Friday, Aug. 30. The top eight teams in each region qualify for the playoffs, which last five weeks. The state championships will return to Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton on Dec. 5-7.
Also of note:
• Only Dunbar (D-III) of the Dayton City League retained its divisional status.
• Three MAC teams made a switch: Anna, Marion Local and Minster.
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• Kirtland, a small-school power near Cleveland, moved up to D-V. Like Marion Local, Kirtland has flipped between D-V and D-VI and played for either of those state championships each of the last eight seasons. Six of those title games were against MAC reps Coldwater, Marion Local and Minster.
Kirtland defeated Marion Local 16-7 to win last season’s D-VI state championship.
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