By JIM HAYNES
Times-Reporter sports writer
DOVER While the excitement is reaching a fever pitch for tonight’s Division IV regional final football game between the Indian Valley Braves and Steubenville Big Red at Dover’s Crater Stadium, something else is happening in the area.
With the influx of out-of-town fans, and the additional factor of having an area team’s involvement, playoff games have far-reaching economic impact.
“Hosting a playoff game is good for the school and the community,” said Dover Athletic Director Kevin Keffer. “While the school doesn’t get a lot of money directly, the music boosters and Tornado Club welcome the extra money. Between the two, they staff the concession stand and handle parking respectively. We look forward to hosting the game.”
The process of hosting a playoff game can be two fold.
First, a team is awarded a home game simply by finishing in the top four of their respective regions based on rankings from the Ohio High School Athletic Association.
Second, after the first round is completed, action shifts to neutral sites for the remainder of the
At that point, schools have to file an application to the OHSAA field selection committee to be considered as a host for those games.
It’s a process that New Philadelphia Superintendent Bob Alsept knows well.
“We’ve hosted several playoff games, including last Saturday,” said Alsept.
“The OHSAA determines sites based on location, the playing surface, as well as seating capacity and parking. This time of year as we get deeper into the possibility of crazy weather, the field turf schools have a distinct advantage to host the games, but they aren’t always awarded one.”
And of course, there is always the preparation that goes into hosting the games.
“Hosting the game is really not that much different than a regular-season game, but we want to represent our school and community well so we take some extra steps to ensure that things look good and run smoothly,” said Keffer.
New Philadelphia Athletic Director Ed Leggett echoed Keffer’s assessment.
“It can be a lot of work, but it’s not all that difficult because when we ask for help, our community and volunteers come out in force,” Leggett said. “We are proud of our facility, just like Dover is of theirs, and we both want to run a first class playoff game when we have the opportunity.
“It’s kind of our way of giving back to the community when you consider the positive economic impact it has in the area.”
In addition to what the school clubs and boosters receive, the surrounding community profits as well.
“It’s good business for our area when you think about the fact that traveling fans will most likely visit our local eateries, or maybe fill up their gas tanks,” said Keffer.
Alsept took it one step further.
“It provides a nice source of extra revenue that the community normally wouldn’t receive. But on top of that, the fact that Quaker Stadium is located right beside Tuscora Park, it can help generate some tourism dollars for years to come,” said Alsept.
“People see our park and take notice of how nice it is, and they make a return trip to enjoy the things it has to offer. It’s been nice for us and Dover to be able to host these types of games because it really does spotlight our communities.”