In a perfect world from a Fort Loramie football perspective, Parkway HS would have recently departed the Midwest Athletic Conference for an opening in the nearby Northwest Conference, thus affording a potential opportunity for Loramie to join the MAC in at least football. However, Parkway stayed put to keep the MAC with an even number of schools playing football, a desired result for every high school football conference.
There was speculation that Parkway would exit the powerful MAC to seek the more realistic competition of the NWC since the Panthers usually struggle in most MAC offerings. Maybe they were influenced by the fresh memory of a boys basketball district title which was preceded by a second place league finish. At any rate, this critical domino didn’t fall in favor of Fort Loramie.
2020 will be Loramie’s final year with a football conference affiliation as other current members of the Cross County Conference head elsewhere. The Redskins continue to be a member of the Shelby County Athletic League in other sports, as football will play as an independent beginning in 2021. They still hope to find a league opportunity down the road but nothing is on the immediate horizon. Further working against their candidacy is their dominant recent gridiron success.
However, the NWC could offer some major near term assistance for the Loramie circumstance. Paulding departs the NWC after the coming school year and replacement Leipsic may not be able to join until the summer of 2022, which would leave each NWC member looking for a single non-league game during their 2021 league schedule. When this situation unfolded, the Redskins already had seven games booked for 2021 and needed three more that could now all potentially be filled by the NWC.
The schools in play to match the Loramie openings are Columbus Grove, Delphos Jefferson and Spencerville. All are aware of the Redskins situation and Grove has found an immediate solution to schedule both Leipsic and Fort Loramie. They already have contracts to play Leipsic in a non-league slot and Loramie within the traditional league slate.
The next task would be to attempt to balance home/away with five each in 2021. For that to happen, the Skins need the current openings to become home games. One year deals require some financial creativity since the home team doesn’t have to travel, unlike a traditional two year deal where the economics even out.
Speaking of Fort Loramie football schedules, their week four game at Covington here in 2020 will be on a Thursday night for “live” TV from Dayton on 45.2 and a probable Sunday replay on channel 22.
Football playoffs expand
Following the recommendation of the state football coaches association, the OHSAA last week voted to add 112 schools and 112 games to the 2021 playoffs (four in each region of each division). I was mildly surprised to see this. Extra money for the OHSAA is likely but not automatic, depending on who qualifies and who advances. Not every game makes a profit including some that have been hosted in Sidney.
The highlight of the new arrangement will be the top four qualifiers earning a first round bye before hosting in the second round. The first round will have teams 5-8 hosting teams 9-12. In other words, the top eight qualifiers will all open the playoffs at home. Any 9-12 qualifier will have to win twice on the road to play a neutral site contest in round three (regional semifinals). It will be interesting to see how many can do that.
336 schools will qualify for the playoffs, still less than half of those who play football in Ohio. Playoffs began in 1972 with just 12 participants and evolved from there. A full history of that progression is available at ohsaa.org.
Jared gets company
Hanwha Eagles outfielder Jared Hoying will finally be joined in South Korea this weekend by his wife and two daughters as they journey from Fort Loramie. However, they won’t function as a family unit until a mandatory two week isolation for incoming foreigners is completed. In the interim, Jared will move in with an American teammate, and the three girls will occupy the in-season residence provided by the team as part of Hoying’s contract.
Sports Extra appears each Friday. Dave Ross has worked in local sports media for 45 years.