Sidney’s football squad is moving up in the world — to northern Ohio.
Sidney, along with Anna and Minster, will have new playoff homes this season. The Ohio High School Athletic Association released new playoff division assignments for all member teams last week and announced new regional assignments on Wednesday.
Anna and Minster will be aiming for the same regional title this year. Anna is dropping from Division V to Div. VI, while Minster is moving up from D-VII to D-VI. Thirty-one schools throughout the state moved down a division, while seven moved up a division. Both squads will be in D-VI, Region 23, along with Midwest Athletic Conference foes Coldwater and St. Henry.
Sidney remains in Div. II but will be switching regions. After being lumped in the same region with Cincinnati- and Dayton-area every year since 2009, the Yellow Jackets will be in Region 7 this year, which is mostly comprised of teams in northwest Ohio. The region stretches from the Columbus suburbs up to Toledo and down to the northern Dayton area.
Sidney isn’t the only area squad in the region. The Yellow Jackets will be joined by longtime conference foes Troy and Piqua. The Trojans are also moving from Region 8 and Piqua is moving up from Div. III, Region 12. All three schools are leaving the Greater Western Ohio Conference to reform the Miami Valley League this fall.
The move will help the three MVL schools avoid potential early-round playoff matchups with Cincinnati D-II powers like La Salle and Winton Woods, which have dominated in Region 8 in recent years and rolled over most opponents with running-clock margins.
Sidney lost to La Salle 41-6 in a regional semifinal in 2017, and the Lancers then lost in a regional final to Winton Woods, who went on to win the D-II state title. La Salle won the D-II title in 2014, 2015 and 2016. Winton Woods won the region last year and lost in a state semifinal.
Most of the teams in Region 7 were in Region 6 last year, including four of the region’s eight playoff qualifiers: Toledo Central Catholic, Whitehouse Anthony Wayne, Holland Springfield and Toledo St. John’s.
Fort Loramie nearly jumped up to D-VI but remains in D-VII. The Redskins have a 116 enrollment count, and 117 is the D-VI cutoff. They’ll remain in D-VII, Region 28, along Lehman Catholic, New Bremen and Riverside.
Those squads will now have to contend with MAC power Marion Local, which is dropping from D-VI to D-VII.
The Flyers won the D-VI state title in 2017 and 2016 and finished as runner-ups last year and in 2015. Marion Local won D-VII state title in 2013 and 2014, the only two years it has played in that division.
Minster won the D-VI state championship in 2014 before dropping to D-VII. The Wildcats finished as D-VII runner-ups in 2016 and won the championship in 2017.
To win a title in the next two years, Minster will likely have to contend with MAC foes in Anna, St. Henry and Coldwater — all of which made the playoffs last year.
Coldwater will be looking to get back to championship form with Marion Local out of its way. The Cavaliers were lumped with Marion Local in D-VI, Region 24 the last two years and lost to the Flyers in regional finals both years at Sidney Memorial Stadium. The squad played in eight consecutive D-V state title games between 2009 and 2016 before dropping down and won titles from 2012 to 2015.
Versailles remains in Division V, Region 20.
The OHSAA adjusts playoff division and region assignments each spring. Schools are placed in divisions based on an enrollment count that is determined from a numerical formula that includes student enrollment in ninth through eleventh grades and competitive balance factors.
Competitive balance — which the association first implemented in 2017 — is uses a varying multiple for students who don’t live in the school district they attend. That number is added to the school’s enrollment total.
There are seven divisions in football, and each division is split into four regions based on geography. The top eight teams in each region qualify for playoffs. Playoff berths are determined by the Harbins points system, which awards teams points for victories and victories by defeated opponents.
Reach Bryant Billing at 937-538-4818, or follow @SidneyOHSports on Twitter and @BryantBillingSDN on Facebook.