The first weekend of the expanded playoffs brought plenty of lopsided scores from across the state — including an 84-12 win by Cincinnati Taft over Dayton Meadowdale in a Division V game on Saturday.
Area coaches had nothing but praise for the unique postseason format over the weekend, though, including Miami East coach Max Current, whose team lost 40-7 in a Div. VI, Region 24 playoff game at Anna on Saturday.
If it was a normal year, neither the No. 13 seed Rockets (2-5) or No. 20 seed Vikings (2-5) would have made the playoffs. Playoffs berths had previously been reserved for top eight teams in each region.
Teams were given the option to opt out of the playoffs and continue to play regular-season games. Anna coach Nick Marino said it was an easy decision for his squad to play in the playoffs.
“No hesitation,” Marino said. “You’ve got a chance to play in the playoffs, you’ve got to take it. It’s a one-loss tournament; you’ve got to get in there. I can’t imagine not playing.”
Current said he couldn’t imagine not playing, either.
“When we started practicing this summer and that was what the rule was, the team all wanted to go,” Current said. “We knew from the start we were going no matter what.”
Many teams throughout the state played in their first postseason games in program history, and others like Sidney made rare playoff appearances.
The Yellow Jackets had participated in the playoffs only two other times (1989 and 2017) before beating West Carrollton 31-12 last Friday at Sidney Memorial Stadium. It was the fourth postseason victory in program history.
“It does feel special,” Sidney coach Adam Doenges said. “Our kids appreciate it and enjoy the moment.”
Sidney, Anna and Lehman Catholic were the only area squads to play in the first weekend, while Minster earned a first-round win by forfeit. The Yellow Jackets and Rockets will play in second-round games this weekend; Lehman lost 21-19 to Southeastern on Friday.
The top several seeds in each region earned first-round byes, including area squads Fort Loramie, New Bremen, Riverside and Versailles.
Lopsided scores will likely continue to be seen through the next couple of rounds as high seeds face lower seeds, but the prospect of a blowout loss wouldn’t diminish the postseason according to Marino.
“You just want to go compete,” Marino said. “It’s competition. There’s a champion at the end of it, so you want to give yourself a shot.”
Most teams’ seasons will not end after playoff defeats. The Ohio High School Athletic Association is allowing squads to play up to a total of 10 regular-season games through Nov. 14. Teams can play additional regular-season games after losing in the playoffs.
Lehman is scheduled to be the first area squad to play a regular-season game after losing in the playoffs. The Cavaliers (2-3) are slated to travel to Upper Scioto Valley (3-4) on Friday.
Sidney to face another MVL team in playoff game
Playoff matchups oftentimes pit squads from opposite sides of the state together. Facing an unfamiliar opponent still has yet to be a concern for Sidney this season.
For the second straight week, the Yellow Jackets are scheduled to face a Miami Valley League opponent they’ve already faced in regular season in a playoff game.
No. 10 seed Sidney (4-3) beat West Carrollton for the second time in three weeks last Friday and will now travel to Stebbins (4-2) for the second time this season for a second round D-II, Region 8 playoff game.
The No. 7 seed Indians benefited from Sidney miscues in a 22-20 victory in Week 2. A turnover and a muffed punt by the Yellow Jackets set Stebbins up for two touchdowns, and two consecutive sacks in the first half led to a safety that ended up making the difference.
“Stebbins is a good football team,” Doenges said on Friday. “They hang around with everybody. Even in the games they didn’t win, they were in it until deep in the second half.
“I’m sure they were here tonight watching. Their coaches are going to be ready and their kids are going to be ready.”
COVID-19 forces 2nd MVL team to forfeit playoff game
Sidney and Stebbins will face off on Friday while two nearby MVL rivals will be sitting at home due to COVID-19 outbreaks.
Fairborn announced last week it was forfeiting its first-round game against Cincinnati Withrow after one player and one coach tested positive for coronavirus. Contact tracing led to 68 players and coaches needing to quarantine for two weeks.
On Tuesday, Troy became the second MVL team to forfeit a playoff game. The school district announced the program was forfeiting a second-round game against Edgewood due to a player testing positive.
Like Sidney and Stebbins, both Fairborn and Troy were in D-II, Region 8.
Fort Loramie 6th in AP poll
The Redskins (5-1) fell from the No. 2 spot in the D-VII state Associated Press poll after losing 60-43 to Tri-Village on Oct. 2. They’re ranked No. 6 this week.
Reach Bryant Billing at 937-538-4818, or follow @SidneyOHSports on Twitter and @BryantBillingSDN on Facebook.