It's a little over two months until "King Football" returns, and the Ohio High School Athletic Association's Board of Directors has announced the divisional alignments for the 2013 season.
Beginning this fall, the OHSAA will split its member schools into seven divisions instead of six which has been the norm for several years. The vast difference in enrollments between the largest and smallest schools in what previously was Division I was the major factor in the realignment.
Under the new setup, Indian Valley will be in Division IV while Newcomerstown and Ridgewood will be in Division VI.
In Division I, the state was divided into two regions, with 35 schools in the northern region and 37 in the southern region. There will be 16 playoff qualifiers from each region.
In Divisions II-VII, there are four regions with between 26-28 schools per region (eight qualifiers per region).
Here's the division alignments for teams in the Eastern District and other surrounding schools for the next two years:
Division II - Zanesville.
Division III - Cambridge, West Holmes, Tri-Valley, New Philadelphia, Marietta.
Division IV - Meadowbrook, John Glenn, Beaver Local, East Liverpool, Indian Creek, Steubenville, Edison, Buckeye Local, Morgan, Maysville, Philo, New Lexington, Minerva, Claymont, Indian Valley, Tuscarawas Valley, Warren Local.
Division V - St. Clairsville, Union Local, Martins Ferry, Coshocton, Harrison Central, West Muskingum, Sandy Valley.
Division VI - Buckeye Trail, Shenandoah, Barnesville, Newcomerstown, Bellaire, Ridgewood, Monroe Central, River, Garaway, Fort Frye.
Division VII - Caldwell, Shadyside, Bridgeport, Malvern, St. John Central, Conotton Valley, Toronto, Steubenville Catholic, Beallsville, Bishop Rosecrans, Strasburg, Tuscarawas Catholic, Frontier, Waterford, Wellsville.
The 2013 playoff schedule format was also determined by the OHSAA.
Teams in Division II, III, IV and VI will play Friday nights at 7:30 p.m. while those in Divisions I, V and VII will play Saturday nights at 7 p.m.
Regional quarterfinals will take place Nov. 8-9; Regional semifinals will be Nov. 15-16; Regional finals on Nov. 22-23; and State semifinals on Nov. 29-30.
The state championship games are slated Dec. 5-7 in Massillon and Canton. Of the four divisions that play on Friday nights through the state semifinals, one will have its state championship game on Thursday night, Dec. 5. That game will be announced after the semifinals are complete.
The OHSAA's divisional alignment for the other fall sports is expected out sometime this week.
The first day of coaching is set for Aug. 5 (Aug. 1 for any school that begins classes Aug. 16 or earlier); scrimmages take place between Aug. 13-24 and the regular season begins Aug. 26.