Winning a state championship is the goal of every elite high school football program in the state of Ohio. It may be with the big boys of Division I, or it could be through the small communities and villages in the Division V and VI schools.
The first thing a team must do to greatly increase their chances of making the state playoffs is win their conference. Some journeys are harder than others. It begs the questions:
What is the toughest and best conference in the state of Ohio?
To really make an honest discussion, there have to some factors that have to be taken into consideration that can be uniform no matter what the size of the schools in that conference are. The argument can't be "Every school is Conference A can beat every school in Conference B". First, the playing field has to be level. Second, What is the quality of football played, and are there traditional powers and perennial playoff teams that come out of that conference every year? Third, are there a variety of teams that make the state playoffs on a consistent basis? Finally, how many recent state championship teams have come out of that conference?
There are a couple of conferences that could make an argument....
The Northeast Ohio Conference.... Loaded with perennial playoff teams. Ten of the sixteen teams have made playoff appearances over the last five years. Mentor has been the most consistent, even reaching the state semi-finals last season, before falling to Toledo Whitmer. Brunswick, Medina, Hudson, Mayfield, Twinsburg, North Royalton, and Solon have found themselves in the state playoffs recently. The absence of a state championship keeps the NOC out of the top spot.
The Greater Catholic League (Cincinnati).... The GCL South division of the conference can argue that it could have the best collection of four teams in Elder, LaSalle, Moeller and St. Xavier. Elder won a state football championships in 2002 and 2003. Moeller won last year's state football championship in Division I, and has won eight state titles since 1975. St. Xavier won state football championship 2005 and 2007, and up until last season, had made the state playoffs nine years in a row. Both Moeller and St. Xavier are considered two of the top football programs in the state of Ohio. Can four teams really make a conference? The other divisions of the GCL are made up of Division II and Division III teams. While the GCL can boast about the quality of the four teams in the South, its overall balance has them coming in second.
There is one conference that stands above them all. Even if the schools within that conference may be difficult to find on a map.
The Midwest Athletic Conference
What? Never heard of them! Where are they even at?
The MAC is made up of eleven schools, located in western Ohio, with most of the schools a stone's throw from the Indiana border. All the schools in the MAC are either Division V or Division VI schools, which are the smallest by enrollment in the state of Ohio. The accomplishments are downright scary:
- Since 1990, four different schools (Versailles, St. Henry, Delphos St. John's, and Marion Local) have won SIX state football championships apiece.
- The Coldwater Cavaliers won state championships in 2005 and 2007. They also reached the state championship game in Division V an amazing four straight years! Last season, they finished off that streak of four straight finals by winning their third title, defeating Kirtland in the final 10-9.
- In the thirteen years since the beginning of the decade, a MAC team has won a state title in ten of those years, including two in 2012, and two in 2006.
- Of the eleven teams in the conference, an amazing FIVE made the state playoffs last year.
- Coldwater and Marion Local are considered by many to be two of the top ten football programs in the state of Ohio.
As another year of high school football starts, you can take it to the bank that a MAC school with reach a state title game. With their recently success, and the quality of teams within the conference, the MAC stands alone as the best high school football conference in Ohio.