After two years people are waking up to the reality of the expanded high school football playoffs…that it really isn’t something that’s best for kids, but the adults calling the shots.
You can’t make this up. No one has enough time for it.
But apparently some people have had the time to look at the pairings for this weekend’s first round of the OHSAA state football tournament, and those people are saying…what is this?
What is it?
When the OHSAA expanded the playoffs to six weeks and sixteen teams per region two years ago they did it with the explanation that it would provide more opportunity for kids from schools with historically average football to experience the state football championship process.
It all sounds good. But like a lot of other good ideas, there’s a catch. And the catch is that those teams that were never in the playoffs before…for a reason…now have to play beyond reason when they meet #1-seeds this week that portend (that means leads to) some head-shaking outcomes.
And the public has finally noticed. Pick a game, if you like playoff football, from the following list:
#1 Lakewood St. Ed (10-0) vs. #16 Elyria (1-9)…Div. I, Region I. Elyria scored a hundred points all season.
Or while you’re up there…#2 Cleveland Heights (9-1) vs. #15 Euclid (1-9)…Div. I, Region I. Euclid scored 61 points this season.
Closer to home…Division VII Lockand (4-6) vs. Ansonia (10-0), and Lockland’s four wins came against private schools that scored a total of 21 points in those four games. Parking won’t be a problem.
Because, when Lockland came to New Bremen to play in 2021 no one came to watch from Lockland, a depressed district in suburban Cincinnati. We counted heads, and the only people in their stands were school officials and chaperones that rode the bus with the team.
St. Henry (3-7) will play Riverside (9-1)…and who from St. Henry, with their proud football legacy, and six state titles, would have ever thunk it?
Shadyside, in Division VII (3-7), once played Marion Local for the state title. But that was long ago, and the three teams that Shadyside beat this year had a combined record of 5 wins and 23 losses (.179 win percentage).
To be honest, there are more 4-6 and 5-5 teams than there are 1-9, or 2-8, or even 3-7, I’ll admit. A bit more than 50% of those bottom eight teams in the 16-team regions are .500, or slightly better.
But since when, in the history of Ohio high school football…or in the history of the United States of America, itself…have we honored ‘average’ in such an obvious and conspicuous manner, and called it doing what’s best for kids?
Another thought: How can the OHSFCA (Ohio High School Football Coaches Association) go to the annual meeting now, look each other in the eye, and have the discussion about the proud competitive tradition of high school football in Ohio? How can they do that and not wink…or even chuckle?
Is it any wonder that Pennsylvania dropped Ohio from the Big 33 All-Star game years ago, and replaced us with the state of Maryland?
Is it any wonder that the rank-and-file looked at the weekend pairings Monday and laughed about the watering down of the standards we’re teaching kids on central Ohio talk radio?
Or write the following, to Press Pros…..
“What are this weekend’s games considered…a sixteenth, an eighth, or a quarter final game?” (James Casto)
Or…”Will you guys let us know when the regional semi-final games are played?” (Tim Elliott)
“Will there be a rebate on tickets with the running clock?” (Danny Burcham)
No, you really can’t make it up. And when Abraham Lincoln famously said, “You can fool all people some of the time, and some people all the time. But you can never fool all people all the time”...as good a visionary as ever lived, he never saw this day.
Or, did he?