October 8, 2020 -- When high school football playoffs begin this weekend, it will take the Bruins at Briggs High School about 30 minutes to get to Teays Valley in Pickaway County. That's a chip shot compared to how long it's been since Briggs has been in playoff contention. Thirty years ago was the last time Briggs made it to the state playoffs.
"This is a great experience," said Head Football Coach Harold Bates. "You have to look at it as a once in a lifetime event because you don't know when your team will make the playoffs again."
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year's high school football season is much different. Instead of the usual 10 games, the Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSAA) okayed a shorter season and decided every football team in the state is going to the playoffs.
"This is an unusual year, and if changing the playoff rules provides all these football players an incredible opportunity, it's all worth it," said Bates.
Briggs Senior Aaron Whiteside couldn't agree more.
"This is my last chance since I am a senior. To make it to the playoffs is amazing," said the defensive lineman.
At Briggs' last practice before the playoffs, Bates and his coaches walked through plays and delivered a very clear message.
"Stay focused. Tomorrow is too big to lose," said Coach Bates.
Briggs is not the only school to benefit from this playoff pandemic perk. District records from the 1970s show that four high schools haven't made it to the playoffs in 50 years.
They are Columbus Africentric Early College, Linden-McKinley STEM Academy 7-12, South 7-12, and Whetstone High School.
Below is a list of other CCS high schools and the year they last played in a state football playoff game.
Walnut Ridge: 2019
See below for a full schedule of District playoff football games this weekend: