High school football: Perry moves up to Division IV as OHSAA announces football regions, divisions

Apr. 25—There will be a new Division V state champion football team this fall.

When the Ohio High School Athletic Association announced its divisional and regional alignment for the coming fall on April 25, it was revealed that the Perry Pirates have bumped up from Division V to Division IV. The Pirates won the program's first state championship in football this past December with a 21-14 win over Liberty Center.

Perry is registered with a core enrollment of 201 boys in grades 9-11 as of October per figures provided to the OHSAA by the Ohio Department of Education for the 2024-25 and 2025-26 school years. Add in a multiplier of 4 (based on a Competitive Balance figure of boys in the program from outside the district) and Perry's total enrollment is 205 boys, which is the cutoff for the smallest Division IV team, a distinction the Pirates share with four other teams across Ohio.

"Someone's gotta be the cutoff, right?" Perry coach Bob Gecewich said. "This year it's us. We just gotta line up and play. We'll see some people who we haven't seen in a couple years if we make the playoffs, so that's exciting. Outside of that, nothing changes. We've got to focus on us and find a starting 22 and go from there."

Perry slots into Division IV, Region 13, where it will be joined by Glenville — which moved over from Region 14 — and a Lake Catholic team that returns most everyone from a 10-3 team. NDCL and West Geauga, both of whom were Division III last year, are also in that region.

"Wow," Lake Catholic coach Marty Gibbons said, "whoever comes out that region is going to have a chance (for a state title)."

The OHSAA slotted in the largest 70 schools into Division I and then took the remaining schools and divided them as equally as possible into Divisions II-VII, which came out to about 106 schools per division. OHSAA member schools may opt to move up to Division I if Referendum Issue 18 passes this spring. Results of that referendum voting will be announced May 16.

Full divisional information can be found here.

Another big move is Euclid dropping from Division I to Division II for the first time in program history. The Panthers have a total enrollment of 594, making them the third-largest Division II team and leaving Mentor as the area's only Division I football school.

Of note, Mentor, with its enrollment of 852 boys grades 9-11, is now the 21st-largest Division I program, a far cry from when it was among the largest.

Said Euclid athletic director Tony Fisher of being in Division II this year: "It's different. But hey, it is what it is. If we can win a couple more games and be more competitive than we have the last few years, that could all change. We just want to continue to work to get back to being a winning program."

Joining Euclid in Division II are Riverside, North, Mayfield and South. North (505) is considerably larger than its Willoughby-Eastlake counterpart South (399).

A newbie to Division III will be Brush. The Arcs move down from Division II and are now the third-largest Division III team in the state with a total enrollment of 376. The rest of the area's Division III teams are Harvey, Chardon, VASJ, Madison, Gilmour, Benedictine, Kenston, University, Hawken and Geneva.

Kirtland is back in Division VI, where it won its seventh state title last fall, and is joined in that Division by Wickliffe and Richmond Heights.

Cardinal has dropped to Division VII from Division VI. The Huskies are joined in that division by Fairport.