Football playoff matchups set: Piqua earns first-round bye in D-II

MIAMI COUNTY — The coaches’ votes are in, the seeds assigned and the playoff brackets filled out.

Next week, Ohio’s high school football postseason begins.

The Ohio High School Athletic Association — which shortened its regular season to six games and allowed every team to enter the playoffs, setting them to begin in Week 7 — announced the pairings for the football playoffs Thursday afternoon, with Piqua and Covington earning first-round byes and Troy, Tippecanoe, Milton-Union, Troy Christian and Lehman all earning the right to host opening-round games.

The games in Divisions I, II, III and VII will take place on Fridays, while games in Divisions IV, V and VI will be on Saturdays.

• Division II, Region 8: The Piqua Indians, entering the regular season’s final week unbeaten at 5-0, earned the No. 3 seed in the 25-team D-II, Region 8 bracket, giving the Indians one of seven first-round byes. Seeded ahead of the Indians were No. 1 Cincinnati Winton Woods and No. 2 Cincinnati LaSalle.

After its Week 7 bye, Piqua awaits the winner of the first round game between No. 14 Harrison (1-4) and No. 19 Lima Senior (1-3), and it will play host in Week 8’s second round.

Troy (3-2), meanwhile, earned a No. 9 seed and a chance to host an opening-round game. The Trojans will take on 0-5 Columbus Franklin Heights in Week 7, with the winner taking on either No. 8 Edgewood (2-3) or No. 25 Columbus West (0-1) in Week 8.

• Division III, Region 12: With 26 teams in D-III, Region 12, Tippecanoe’s No. 7 seed was one spot shy of earning a first-round bye. Still, the Red Devils (3-1) will get to host a playoff game in Week 7, taking on 26th-seeded Ponitz (0-2). The winner of that game will face either No. 10 Cincinnati Mount Healthy (2-3) — who the Devils were originally scheduled to play in the season opener before the Miami Valley League went to a league-only schedule — or No. 23 Fenwick (0-4).

• Division IV, Region 16: In the 24-team D-II, Region 16, Milton-Union (3-2) earned the No. 10 seed and will host No. 23 Greenfield McClain (0-5) in the opening round. Seventh-seeded Valley View (3-2) — which defeated the Bulldogs 57-14 in Week 5 — awaits the winner in the second round.

• Division V, Region 20: Bethel (2-3) earned the No. 21 seed in the 24-team D-V, Region 20, and the Bees will be traveling in Week 7 to No. 12 Cincinnati Madeira (2-3) to open the playoffs. Fifth-seeded Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy (3-1) awaits the winner in Week 8.

• Division VI, Region 24: Seeded No. 5, Covington (4-1) earned one of nine first-round byes in the 22-team D-VI, Region 24. The Buccaneers will face the winner between No. 12 Arcanum (3-2) and No. 21 Dixie (1-4) in a Week 8 game in Covington.

Miami East (1-4) was seeded No. 20 and will travel to No. 13 Anna (1-4) — last year’s D-VI state champion — in Week 7, with No. 4 West Jefferson (4-1) awaiting the winner in Week 8.

• Division VII, Region 28: In the 22-team D-VII, Region 28 bracket, the first 16 seeds earned first-round home games. Troy Christian (2-3) will host No. 18 Ridgemont (1-4) in the opening round, with No. 2 Fort Loramie (5-0) awaiting the winner in Week 8. No. 14 Lehman (2-2), meanwhile, will host No. 19 Southeastern (1-4) in Week 7, with No. 3 New Bremen (3-2) awaiting the winner in the second round.

Bradford was the lone Miami County team to opt out of the playoffs.