The Fayetteville-Perry Rockets football team received some good news last week for their playoff hopes.
The Ohio High School Athletic Association announced this year’s football divisions, regions, schedules, and playoffs on June 9 and Fayetteville found themselves some good fortune. The Rockets were dropped down one division to Division 7, where at 106 male students, they’re at exactly the high point of the division.
“We’re excited,” Fayetteville-Perry High School athletics director Tim Carlier said. “We feel that that’s where we fit due to our numbers. In the past couple of years we’ve been a couple of boys more (than 106). We’re excited for the challenge. Sometimes you never know if going down a division is better or worse, but we’re excited about it.”
In terms of playoff ranking, the move down a division should help the Rockets. If the Rockets win enough games during the upcoming season, they’ll have a better shot at making it to the playoffs, especially with a schedule facing some tougher teams.
“I really don’t think it’s going to affect our regular season at all,” Rockets head coach Kevin Finch said. “It will remain the same. We have to take it one game at a time. If we take care of business and make the playoffs, it would be advantageous for us. We are bigger in Division 7.”
The date, June 9, also represented the approval of the Rockets’ schedule, which was submitted on May 15 to the OHSAA. The Rockets will kick off the year with scrimmages on Aug. 10 and 15 against Paint Valley and West Union, respectively, both at home, before opening the regular season at Clermont Northeastern on Friday, Aug. 28.
Next they’ll return to Fayetteville for their home opener on Sept. 4 against Bethel-Tate. Next is a trip to Batavia on Sept. 11 followed by home games against Williamsburg and Hillcrest on Sept. 18 and Sept. 25, respectively.
October brings nearly a month of games on the road, with trips to Miami Valley Christian (Oct. 2), Manchester (Oct. 9), Portsmouth Notre Dame (Oct. 24), and Pike County Eastern (Oct. 30), with a home game on Oct. 16 against Jefferson Township out of Montgomery County.
“We’ve got to start off the season the right way with CNE, the rivalry with the Rockets is close,” Finch said. From that point on, we’ve got to get the season started in the right way and get everything in a positive direction. We have a couple of bigger teams earlier in the schedule and after that we get into our league.”
As Finch mentioned above, Fayetteville football will this year be returning to league football. The Rockets will be playing in the Ohio Valley Athletic League, and will have league matchups against Hillcrest, Manchester, and Miami Valley Christian.
“Now we have players that can be put up for league mention and other considerations like that,” Finch said.
With the spring sports season long over, athletes are now focusing on the upcoming fall seasons, with football players deep into offseason workouts.
So far, Finch likes what he sees from his returning crop of players.
“Summer workouts have been great,” he said. “Really good commitment. We’ve had some players stepping up being strong leaders. They’ve done a great job in the weight room pushing each other and competing from within. They’re hungry to be successful this season. Everybody wants to make a run at the league and maybe have a shot at the playoffs.”