When it was announced a couple of years back that the Sidney Yellow Jackets would join the reincarnation of the Miami Valley League, my first thought was the football schedule. The MVL would have 10 schools, and football schedules were to include all nine opponents, leaving only a single non-league contest to open the ten game season.
SHS had been playing two or three outside games for many years. Weeks 1 and 2 were rock solid with long standing rivals St. Marys and Bellefontaine. While the Jackets wanted to keep both, the new scheduling model to begin in 2020 didn’t allow it. Sidney had two options, either drop Bellefontaine or see if the Chieftains would like to become the Yellow Jackets opener
Athletic director Mitch Hoying studied the situation and solicited many opinions before deciding to call his Bellefontaine counterpart to see if the Chiefs would become the Sidney gridiron lidlifter, and an agreement happened quickly between two schools who have played each other in almost everything for over a century.
The next step was to call St. Marys to advise of the coming non-renewal, a necessary task that Hoying didn’t enjoy. “It was tough. They always bring us good competition and large crowds,” the AD told me.
The proverbial dominoes fell from there, affecting many schools. St. Marys eventually settled on Dayton Thurgood Marshall for their opener. Bellefontaine booked Columbus Watterson for week 2. Wapakoneta scheduled Holland Springfield (West Toledo) to replace Bellefontaine as their opener.
I’m always interested in our area’s nonconference football matchups. A new one for 2020 finds defending state champion Anna opening at Indian Lake which normally fields a winning program and is an easy trip. Though not always in the same division, the two have somewhat similar enrollments. Both retain their status from a year ago, Anna in D-VI and Indian Lake in D-V.
A year from now Lehman Catholic will totally rework its non-league slate as the Cavaliers help launch the rebirth of the Three Rivers Conference. Coming back on board in 2021 will be previous opponents New Bremen and Waynesfield Goshen along with an opener to be determined.
I’ve previously detailed the numerous moving parts involved with Fort Loramie becoming independent of football league affiliation in 2021. One interesting component will be the debut of Versailles on the Redskins schedule.
Sometimes a matchup will immediately reveal that neither team could find a somewhat logical opponent, so they booked each other. Such is the case when Minster visits Cincinnati Woodward in week 2 of this year. Woodward went 1-9 in 2019. Though no longer on the Woodward staff, former Minster resident Jim Lippincott recently enjoyed coaching there as defensive coordinator. Jim lived in Minster while coaching Marion Local in the 1970’s. He also worked at Sidney, Cincinnati Moeller and the Cincinnati Bengals.
118 years ago: Woodward was booked on the CH&D Railroad to journey to undefeated Sidney on Thanksgiving Day in 1902 to conclude the high school season but the trip was cancelled. Excessive snow and mud on the playing surface of the South Miami Avenue Ball Grounds (current Berger Park) was the listed cause. Train travel played a major role in early high school football.
Current and future school-by-school schedules for all sports are available at ohsaa.org. The OHSAA currently lists 709 high schools playing 11-man football.