LaBrae, Fitch and McDonald are movers

COLUMBUS — Population has been decreasing around the Mahoning Valley for some time as evidenced by the fact the area will not have a Division I football team taking the field this fall.

On Tuesday, the Ohio High School Athletic Association released its football assignments for the 2019 season.

Austintown Fitch, the only area D-I team last season, fell off in enrollment and is now Division II, according to the OHSAA numbers. Warren G. Harding and Boardman, join the Falcons in Division II, where they were a season ago.

According to OHSAA figures, Fitch was one of 47 schools to move down a division because of enrollment changes; 55 schools moved up because of enrollment. Seven moved up due to competitive balance and 14 went down for that reason, and there were 48 schools that would have moved due to enrollment change, but didn’t because of competitive balance.

Among area schools, LaBrae moves down from Division V to VI, while McDonald shifts down from VI to VII.

Howland and Niles remain in Division III. Last year’s Division IV state runner-up Girard stays there, joined by Lakeview, Hubbard, Cardinal Mooney and Ursuline. Champion, Garfield and Grand Valley remain in Division V.

Brookfield, Liberty, Newton Falls, Pymatuning Valley and Mineral Ridge stay up in Division VI. John F. Kennedy, Jackson-Milton, Chalker, Mathews and Windham are still in Division VII.

The specific region assignments within each division will be announced next week.

The first day of football coaching is Aug. 1, while the regular season starts August 26. The postseason begins Nov. 8 and the state championship games return to Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton Dec. 5-7.