(5-20-20) Today the OHSAA announced that in 2021 the high school football playoffs will be expanded…from 8 teams in a region to 12 teams.

2021 Format –

During the first round of the playoffs, the top four seeds will have a bye, while the No. 12 seed will play at the No. 5 seed, No. 11 at No. 6, No. 10 at No. 7 and No. 9 at No. 8. In the second round, the No. 1 seed will play the winner of the 8 vs. 9 game; the No. 2 seed will play the winner of 6 vs. 11; the No. 3 seed will play the winner of 7 vs. 10 and the No. 4 seed will play the winner of 5 vs. 12.

This past season in D VI Region 23...how it would it have looked had 12 teams qualified in the region using the new format.

#1 to #4 seeds  – LCC, Liberty Center, Archbold, Minster – all would get byes

1st round match-ups

  • #5 Anna vs. #12 Hicksville (6-4)- winner plays Minster
  • #6 Coldwater vs. #11 Columbus Grove (7-3) – winner plays Archbold
  • #7 Allen East vs. #10 Spencerville (7-3)- winner plays Liberty Center
  • #8 Fairview vs. #9 Gibsonburg (10-0) – winner plays LCC

#9  to #12 seeds – did not qualify for the playoffs in 2019

Region 23 produced this year’s D VI State Champion in Anna who was the #5 seed. For the Rockets they would have had to play an additional game in the new format going against #12 seed Hicksville. The winner would play #4 seed Minster, who would have had the bye week….would the Wildcats have benefited?

Undefeated Gibsonburg, who finished one spot out of the playoffs as the #9 seed,  might have been one of the key reasons that led to the increase in the number of qualifiers. The new format would have at least allowed the Golden Bears a chance to play in the post-season taking on #8 seed Fairview.

Region 23 is just one example of what adding four more teams in a region to the playoffs might do. The new format will be the first time that the OHSAA has incorporated a bye week to the playoffs.


The OHSAA, counting the 2021 expansion, has added additional teams for the 6th time since the playoffs began in 1972. From 12 teams a year to a new total of 336 teams who now qualify.

1972-1979 – 12 teams from the entire state qualified for post-season play – three classes of four regions each – with only one school from each region able to qualify.

1980-1984 –  the categories of the schools were renamed from “Class” to “Division,” and were increased in number from three to five, the top two schools in each region qualified for the playoffs, for a total of 40 schools now eligible for the post-season

1985-1993 – expansion of eligible schools took place,  the top four schools in each region would make the playoffs, doubling the number of qualifying schools to 80.

1994 -1998 D VI was added, adding 16 more schools to the state football tournament.

1999-2012 the number of qualifying schools was again doubled when it was determined that the top eight teams in each region would play for a state championship, for a total of 192 teams.

2013–2020 – in 2013 D VII was added, and 32 more teams would qualify for the playoffs, upping the number to 224 playoff teams

2021 –  from eight schools per region to 12 beginning in the 2021 season and will increase the number of football playoff qualifiers from 224 to 336