The Van Wert County Courthouse

Tuesday, Jan. 25, 2022

Monday Mailbag: football trends, more

SCOTT TRUXELL/independent sports editor

This week’s Monday Mailbag features questions about football participation, football playoff eligibility and the status of Lima Sr. football.

Q: Is there a high school football participation trend in our area? If so, what is that trend — and why? It seems that some teams’ numbers have been going down, but certainly not all of them. I know that a few schools in Northwest Ohio have had to go to 8-man football. Name withheld upon request

A: Numbers in this area seem to be solid, which seems to buck the trend in other spots.

Due to a couple of reasons, numbers were down at Ada last year and the schedule was scrapped after three games. However, the Bulldogs have 31 on the roster this season, which is still a bit low but it’s a step in the right direction.

Overall and at a minimum, I think numbers in this area are steady and in some cases up, and that may be due to a couple of reasons.

One is success usually breeds success and for the most part, schools around the area have enjoyed some form of success, either recent success or some type of tradition. Continued success at Crestview and recent success at Van Wert are two examples of that.

The other reason is by and large, the communities of the Western Buckeye League, Northwest Conference, Green Meadows Conference and the Midwest Conference are hardworking communities. Work ethic is passed down from year-to-year, generation-to-generation and it shows.

As far as 8-man football, yes, some schools in northwest Ohio (and around Ohio) have had to make the switch. The closest one is Holgate, which has had to cancel the first two games on the schedule due to low numbers. Vanlue has 12 players on this year’s team, but the Wildcats are making a go of it.

Those two particular schools are among the smallest in Ohio, so it’s always going to be a challenge for them to field 11-man teams and be competitive, yet they want to compete, so they do what they have to do to field teams.

Q: Let me get this straight – the OHSAA says football teams only have to play five regular season games to qualify for the playoffs? Is that correct? Name withheld upon request

A: Yes and no.

Teams must play at least five regular season games to be eligible for the postseason. Unless things change, it isn’t an all-in format this year. Teams that play at least five games will be ranked using the usual Harbin computer playoff rating system and the top 16 teams per region will qualify.

The previous minimum number of games was eight, but the OHSAA reduced it to five due to the fact COVID-19 has forced the cancelation of more than several games around the state.

Q: Lima Sr. had to cancel last week’s game against Toledo Rogers and now the next game against Mansfield is off. Shouldn’t the athletic department have tried to find a replacement game for Week No. 3? Name withheld upon request

A: Both games have been canceled due to a COVID-19 case.

When the announcement about the Rogers game was made by Lima Sr., a press release didn’t indicate which team had/has the case. However, the fact that Mansfield Sr., already found a new Week No. 3 opponent (North Canton Hoover) indicates it’s Lima Sr.

Hopefully, the Spartans will be able to take the field in Week No. 4 against Toledo St. John’s.

The Monday Mailbag will return on Monday, September 13.

POSTED: 08/30/21 at 4:03 am. FILED UNDER: Sports