As one school sports year comes to a close, the excitement for the next has begun, particularly for the fall athletes.

The Ohio High School Athletic Association released the highly anticipated statewide football regional assignments this week after announcing the divisional assignments last week. Divisions were also assigned for boys and girls soccer, volleyball, and girls and boys basketball.

The official start date for football, soccer and volleyball practice is August 1. The regular season begins August 16 for soccer and volleyball and August 26 for football (first Friday is August 30). Both the Waverly girls and boys soccer programs remain in Division II, while the Piketon girls and boys (restarting varsity this season) will be Division III. For volleyball, Waverly is Division II, Piketon is Division III, and Eastern and Western are both Division IV.

Girls basketball practice begins October 25, with the regular season beginning November 22. Divisions are not changing for the Pike County teams. Waverly stays Division II, Piketon remains in Division III, and Eastern and Western hold their spots in Division IV.

Boys basketball practice begins November 1, with the regular season beginning November 27. Waverly (Division II), Piketon (Division III) and Western (Division III) remain the same as last year. Eastern drops back down to Division IV after being Division III for two years.

Regarding the upcoming football season, all three Pike County varsity teams moved in one way or another in their divisional and/or regional assignment.

While their Waverly Tigers were remaining a Division IV team, many fans were thrilled to learn that they moved from the Southwest-based Region 16 and into the Southeast-based Region 15. That effectively moves the Tigers away from a potential first-round playoff game with a Cincinnati or Dayton area school.

The rivalry series between Waverly and Piketon is on indefinite hiatus, so both teams will have a new opponent for the opening week of the season. The Tigers will begin with what is being billed as a highly competitive opener. The Athens Bulldogs will come to Raidiger Field on Friday, Aug. 30 to begin the 2019 varsity season at 7 p.m.

All of Waverly’s remaining games will be on Friday evenings beginning at 7 p.m. The next three weeks feature the same opponents as the past few seasons. Waverly will head to Zane Trace on Sept. 6, return home to face Unioto on Sept. 13, and then head south to Fairland on Sept. 20. Another new opponent appears on the schedule in the fifth week as the Tigers will stay at home and take on the Amanda-Clearcreek Aces to wrap up the non-league portion of the schedule on Sept. 27.

Waverly will enter Southern Ohio Conference Division II play to start the month of October. On Oct. 4, the Tigers will head to Portsmouth West. They return home to face Valley on Oct. 11, followed by a road trip to Wheelersburg on Oct. 18. The final home game of the regular season comes on Oct. 25 against Minford. Then they will head to Oak Hill to face the Oaks in the final week on Nov. 1. This is the first year for the Oaks to play an SOC II football schedule after being in the SOC I for many years.

The Piketon Redstreaks remained in Division V, but they will be moving from Region 20 to Region 19. Other notable teams that moved along with the Redstreaks include Wheelersburg, Portsmouth, Portsmouth West and Northwest. The move also gets those teams away from being mixed into a Southwest-based region and into more of a Southeast-based region.

Piketon’s week one replacement for the Waverly game is South Point. So, the Redstreaks will make the journey south to play the Pointers in the opening game on Aug. 30. All of Piketon’s games are scheduled for Friday nights at 7 p.m. When the Streaks return home on Sept. 6, they will be facing the Wellston Golden Rockets on their new turf field, located at the former soccer and track complex. Soccer, track and football will all make their home at the newly renovated facility. The Redstreaks wrap up non-league play on Sept. 13 with a road game at Lucasville Valley.

Scioto Valley Conference play begins on Sept. 20 with a road game at Unioto. Then they will be back at home for three straight weeks, facing Paint Valley (Sept. 27), Southeastern (Oct. 4) and Adena (Oct. 11). Back-to-back road games will follow as the Streaks head to Westfall on Oct. 18 and to Huntington on Oct. 25. The final week of the regular season features a home contest with Zane Trace on Nov. 1.

The Eastern Eagles will moving down to Division VII after being Division VI last year. They have been placed in Region 27.

Eastern will be one of the few teams in the area to get an early start for the 2019 season. The Eagles will start on Thursday, Aug. 29 with a road game at Paint Valley at 7 p.m. This will be the first time the Eagles and the Bearcats have played in the regular season. All of Eastern’s remaining games will be played at 7 p.m. on Friday evenings. Eastern’s home opener will be Sept. 6 versus the Huntington Huntsmen. Then on Sept. 13, they will face their third Scioto Valley Conference team, as the Southeastern Panthers come for a visit. A road game with Manchester follows in the fourth week on Sept. 20. Then the Eagles will be back home to conclude the non-league portion of the schedule by facing another new opponent in the Greenfield McClain Tigers.

Southern Ohio Conference Division I play begins with a road game at East on Oct. 4. The Eagles will come back home to face the Symmes Valley Vikings on Oct. 11. They go to Notre Dame on Oct. 18. Then they will be back home for the final time in the regular season on Oct. 25. The regular season concludes on Nov. 1 in a road contest at Green.

REGIONS OF INTEREST

The following regions contain member schools from the Mid-State League Buckeye Division, the Scioto Valley Conference, Southern Ohio Conference, and other schools of area interest. The top eight schools in each region advance to the playoffs upon the conclusion of the regular-season.

Division II, Region 8

Teays Valley, Canal Winchester, Chillicothe, Cin. Anderson, Briggs, Trenton Edgewood, Fairborn, Franklin Heights, Harrison, Kings, Cin. LaSalle, Morrow Little Miami, Logan, Loveland, St. Charles, DeSales, Riverside Stebbins, Oxford Talawanda, New Carlisle Tecumseh, Cin. Turpin, Walnut Ridge, West, Whitehall, West Carrollton, Cin. Winton Woods, Cin. Withrow, Xenia

Division III, Region 11

Hamilton Township, Unioto, Athens, Beechcroft, Bellbrook, Bellefontaine, Bexley, Bishop Hartley, Bishop Watterson, Buckeye Valley, Centennial, Eastmoor Academy, Granville, Independence, Jackson, Jonathan Alder, London, Marietta, Miami Trace, Sheridan, South, Tri-Valley, Warren, Western Brown, Wilmington, Zanesville

Division IV, Region 15

Circleville, Logan Elm, Bloom-Carroll, Fairfield Union, Cambridge, Claymont, East, Gallipolis, Heath, Highland, Indian Valley, John Glenn, Lakewood, Licking Valley, Linden McKinley, Marion-Franklin, Maysville, Meadowbrook, New Lexington, Philo, River View, St. Clairsville, Union Local, Utica, Vinton County, Waverly

Division IV, Region 16

Washington C.H., Hillsboro, McClain, Cin. Archbishop McNicholas, Benjamin Logan, Bethel-Tate, Clinton-Massie, Easton, Graham, Cin. Indian Hill, Kenton, Kenton Ridge, Milton-Union, Dayton Northridge, Springfield Northwestern, Norwood, Oakwood, Ponitz Career Tech, Cin. Roger Bacon, Cin. Shroder, Thurgood Marshall, Urbana, Valley View, Waynesville, Cin. Wyoming

Divison V, Region 19

Amanda-Clearcreek, Westfall, Liberty Union, Piketon, Zane Trace, Alexander, Bishop Ready, Chesapeake, Columbus Academy, Coshocton, Fairland, Ironton, Johnstown, Meigs, Minford, Morgan, Northwest, Oak Hill, Portsmouth, Portsmouth West, Ridgewood, Bidwell River Valley, Rock Hill, South Point, Wellston, West Muskingum, Wheelersburg

Division VI, Region 24

Adena, Paint Valley, Huntington, Southeastern, Africentric, Arcanum, Cin. Country Day, Covington, Coal Grove, Dayton Christian, Deer Park, Dixie, Fairbanks, Fayetteville-Perry, Grandview Heights, Greeneview, Cin. Montessori, Mechanicsburg, National Trail, Springfield Northeastern, Cin. Riverview, Triad, Troy Christian, Valley, Williamsburg, Worthington Christian

Division VII, Region 27

Beallsville, Berne Union, Zanesville Rosecrans, Bridgeport, Caldwell, Beaver Eastern, Reedsville Eastern, Fairfield Christian, Lancaster Fisher, Frontier, Green, Grove City Christian, Harvest Prep, Manchester, Miller, Millersport, Monroe Central, Newark Catholic, Portsmouth Notre Dame, Hannibal River, Sciotoville East, Shadyside, Shenandoah, South Gallia, Symmes Valley, Trimble, Waterford

Links to OHSAA Regions and Divisions:

2019 OHSAA Football Calendar

August 1 First Day of Coaching

August 9-24 Scrimmage Dates

August 26 Regular-Season Begins (First Friday is August 30)

Sept. 24 First Weekly Computer Points Released

Nov. 2 Regular-Season Ends

Nov. 3 Final Computer Points and Playoff Qualifiers Announced

Nov. 8-9 Regional Quarterfinals

Nov. 15-16 Regional Semifinals

Nov. 22-23 Regional Finals

Nov. 28 Thanksgiving

Nov. 29-30 State Semifinals

Dec. 5-7 State Championships in Canton

Email at jbillings@newswatchman.com; follow on Twitter @ Julie_Billings

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