“Now on OHSAA.org - OHSAA releases enrollment numbers for 2011-12 & 2012-13 school years.”Numbers geeks and high school sports fans all over Ohio know exactly what this means…it’s time to redraw the divisions for all OHSAA sports based on enrollment numbers. This applies to all sports, but especially football, where not only are divisions re-drawn, but it sets in motion realignment of the state’s 24 regions, which can change the landscape of high school football in Ohio more than anything else.
Continue reading for what impact this may have on the coming football season.
Here’s the proposed enrollment figures submitted by every OHSAA sanctioned school divided by boys and girls. The numbers count every student in 9th, 10th and 11th grades. Schools had until May 6th to dispute these figures. Now that the deadline has passed, the state will move forward in setting the cutoff points for divisions and then placing teams into regions.
First, the anti-climactic stuff….Orrville will REMAIN in Division 4 for football. This was never really in doubt.
The good news is that we increased in the number of boys from the last time the count was taken in the fall of 2008. Our number then was 211 boys and this time around, we’re at 214. The girls count actually decreased from 182 to 175. So there was a net LOSS of 4 students in grades 9, 10 and 11 from the count taken in the fall of 2008 to the most recent count taken in 2010….or about a 5% decrease.
The existing range of enrollment for Division 4 football schools was 177 to 251 boys, so we’re right in the meaty part of the curve and never really in danger of moving up to Division 3 or down to Division 5.
As far as other sports, I can’t see any of our sports, boys or girls, in danger of moving up or down a division.
Back to football. While there’s no danger of us moving up or down, there is a real possibility of us moving back to Region 13 after a two-year run in Region 14, one that saw us finish as regional runner-up in 2009 and regional champions in 2010.
Orrville and Chippewa were the easternmost teams in Region 14, so it was already a stretch for us being in Region 14 to begin with. With with the way the numbers are shaking out, it’s a real possibility that two Northeast Ohio schools currently in Division 4 - Region 13, will be moving up to Division 3, thus creating two openings in Region 13.
Those two schools are Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy (CVCA) and the reigning state runner-up in Division 4, the Chagrin Falls Tigers. Chagrin figured to be one of the early favorites to win the state title in Division 4, but it will be a much tougher road to hoe in Division 3.
There’s right around 715 football schools in Ohio, I think this coming year, there will be a few more…717 by my count, but that’s nothing official. The state usually likes to keep an even number of teams per division, normally around 118-120 teams per division. Assuming that, here’s where I’m guessing the division cutoffs will fall.
Division 1 – 494 boys and up – 119 schools
Division 2 – 324 to 493 boys – 120 schools
Division 3 – 241 to 323 boys – 119 schools
Division 4 – 170 to 240 boys – 121 schools
Division 5 – 119 to 169 boys – 121 schools
Division 6 – 118 boys and less – 117 schools
Again, these are my guesses, not the OHSAA’s official numbers…but I think it’s a solid guess. If they’re trying to keep the number of schools as even as possible, this is about as balanced as it can get.
From those projections, here’s how the teams would align per division. I've included all divisions, but highlighted and bolded the Division 4 section.
Note what other two local teams would also be in Division 4 with Orrville & Triway. Welcome to Division 4 Wayne County Athletic League teams the Northwestern Huskies and the Norwayne Bobcats. Neither jumped a whole lot in enrollment, but the state as a whole seems to have shifted down in terms of enrollment, and both were on the edge of Division 4 at last count, thus the jump into Division 4 this time around.
Chippewa’s situation raised a big eyebrow to me. They were a small division 4 school at 177 boys when the last count was taken in 2008, but the preliminary numbers released by the OHSAA have them only at 96 boys now…almost a 50% drop in male students, dropping them to Division 6 in football. Their girls enrollment is way down too, so either the reported numbers are wrong, or they’re experiencing a real problem up there.
So now that we have some idea of where teams may fall division-wise, let’s guess at where teams may fall region-wise. For this we’re only going to look at Division 4 teams. Easiest way I can think is to plot each team on a map and see if we can make it work.
I plotted each of the projected 121 Division 4 football teams on a Google map. And yes, I did this in my spare time. If there was ever a doubt as to this site being a labor of love, let this serve as exhibit A. I'd post the link to the map, but it was behaving really weirdly and not displaying correctly.
After plotting all 121 teams, it showed very obviously that there is a concentration of teams in Southwest (Region 16) and Northeast (Region 13) Ohio and a much more spread-out region in the Southeast (Region 15) and Northwest (Region 14) regions of the state.
Again, this is just a geographic look at things, the state has been known to draw some very funky lines when it comes to regions. Remember in the 80’s when us and Ironton (the Ironton that is practically in West Virginia) met in the first round of the playoffs?
I didn’t try to draw Orrville back in region 13, but that’s how it ended up working out. I tried to put an even number of teams in each region and use geographic logic more than anything else….and with gas prices over $4.00/gallon, I think it would be wise to consider potential travel distances more so than in years past.
So from my projections, we'll be in Region 13 again. The dividing line between Region 13 and 14 will be just west of Orrville...and that would keep Triway in Region 14 still, as well as newcomer Northwestern. Norwayne would join Orrville in Region 13.
Here's the entire list of Region 13 schools based on my projections......
4. Cardinal (Middlefield)
5. Central Catholic (Canton)
6. Champion (Warren)
7. Central Catholic (Cleveland)
9. Edison (Richmond)
11. Garfield (Garretsville)
13. Grand Valley
17. Liberty (Youngstown)
18. Lutheran West
19. Manchester (Akron)
20. Newton Falls
23. Perry (Lake County)
24. Pymatuning Valley
25. Sandy Valley
27. Tusky Valley
What it All Means
I found it interesting to see not only who IS projected to be division 4, but who ISN'T as well. No Youngstown Mooney, no Steubenville, no Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary, no Coldwater, no Youngstown Ursuline, and now no Chagrin Falls. Still plenty of talented teams in Division 4, but some of the heavy hitters aren't around like they were just a few years ago.
Not saying this guarantees anything, but with a nice group of playmakers returning and some recent playoff success under our belt, this might be a real nice year to make a deep run. As far as 2011 goes, I don't think I'm stretching to say that Orrville will be one of the mentioned favorites to make a run at a state title. We can deflect it all we want, and a lot can happen between now and then..and once the season starts, but we'll be in the state title conversation.....like it or not.
So we'll see how the state lines everything up....hopefully by the end of the week.
Thanks for reading.