St. Marys Football To Play In South Region

By: 
JAKE DOWLING
Sports Editor

In terms of what division and region St. Marys football is in entering the 2019 fall season, it is going to feel like 2016 again.

That year was the last time the Roughriders football program was a Division III, Region 12 program.

Until now.

The Ohio High School Athletic Association announced its football region assignments on Thursday and St. Marys, which was elevated from a Division IV program to Division III earlier this month, was listed at Region 12, putting the Roughriders with the likes of Western Buckeye League rival Wapakoneta and region powerhouse Trotwood-Madison. Region 12 is the southwest region for the Division III playoffs.

Minster, who was bumped up to Division VI from VII, is in Region 23, or the northwest region of the division.

The OHSAA also released Division breakdowns for volleyball, boys and girls soccer and girls and boys basketball on Thursday, but no changes were made in those sports for St. Marys, Minster, New Bremen and New Knoxville. St. Marys is still listed as a Division II school in each sport, while the other three schools are still listed as Division IV programs in their respected sports. New Knoxville is still Division III in boys soccer — the lowest Division in that sport.

After two years of enjoying football at the Division IV level, St. Marys was back to playing Division III because of the change in the school's enrollment. Those figures were released by the OHSAA June 4 as part of its football school division assignments.

St. Marys' enrollment slightly dropped for the 2017-18 school year to bump it down to a Division IV program — the lowest division in the program's history. Last month, the OHSAA released enrollment numbers and St. Marys' had increased to 285 — which was the threshold between D-III and IV schools in the OHSAA's division breakdown two years ago — from 277.

"It will just make our challenge tougher to maintain our success," Roughriders coach Doug Frye said in a text message June 4. "We are working hard and look forward to the challenge."

The OHSAA makes divisional changes every two years based on a school's ninth to 12th-grade boys or girls enrollment numbers and the OHSAA's competitive balance formula.

As a Division IV school, St. Marys earned more points when it defeated schools at a higher division, such as Division II Sidney last season or Division III Wapakoneta two years ago in a 10-0 season-finale win. In the postseason, St. Marys saw other schools, such as Highland, Orange Pepper Pike, Shelby, Clear Fork and Wyoming. The Roughriders were 24-4 overall, including postseason, as a Division IV team.

The last time the Roughriders played in the Division III postseason was in 2016 when they finished as regional runners-up to Trotwood-Madison. In Division IV last season, St. Marys won its first regional title in 14 years after routing Clear Fork.

Minster football also moved up a division from VII to VI.

The Wildcats — a Division VII program the last four years — moved up a Division because of increased enrollment. The school's enrollment increased by five students. The last time Minster was a  Division VI program was in 2014 when it won the state title against Kirtland.

All divisional assignments for football can be found on the OHSAA's website. https://www.ohsaa.org/Sports-Tournaments/Football/Football-2019 and all regional assignment information can also be found on the OHSAA webpage. https://www.ohsaa.org/news-media/articles/ArtMID/2006/ArticleID/511/OHSA....