SAYBROOK TOWNSHIP — St. John has finalized its 2019 schedule after announcing it will play 8-man football this season.
The Heralds are scheduled to play six other schools also playing as 8-man teams this season.
St. John opens with Mathews, which was on the original schedule, on Aug. 30 at Spire. The Mustangs aren't playing as an 8-man team, but will when going against St. John.
The Heralds will make the trek to Northwest Ohio to play Holgate in Week 2 on Sept. 6.
In Week 3, Fairport, another 8-man football school, is slated to play St. John at Spire on Sept. 14.
After an open date, the Heralds are slated to host Bishop Rosecrans, which is located in Zanesville, about 50 miles east of Columbus, at 7 p.m. Sept. 27 for Homecoming.
On Oct. 5, St. John travels to Sandusky St. Mary Central Catholic, before going to Rosecrans at 7 p.m. on Oct. 11.
St. Mary CC comes to Spire for a 2 p.m. game on Oct. 19.
The Heralds have a bye on Oct. 25, before closing the season at Chalker on Nov. 1. Like Mathews, Chalker isn't playing 8-man football this year, but will against St. John.
"We're excited to be playing football," St. John Athletic Director Nick Iarocci said. "The schedule fell right into place with just a few tweaks."
Other schools scheduled to play as 8-man football teams this season, according to a list provided by the Ohio High School Athletic Association and they are aware of, include: Lakeside Danbury, Toledo Christian, Elyria Open Door Christian and Stryker, which will play some 8-man and some 11-man games.
"Football participation numbers are still very strong in Ohio and there are more boys that play football than any other sport in Ohio, but the overall numbers are down slightly and some schools simply can't field an 11-man team," said Tim Stried, OHSAA Director of Communications.
"While the OHSAA doesn't sponsor a postseason tournament for 8-man football, we support those schools that need to play the 8-man version of the game in order to keep football alive at their school. The goal is that they return to playing 11-man football in the near future."