It has been part of northeast Ohio for more than 70 years.

Nonetheless, the Suburban League, which began play in 1949, shows no signs of slowing down.

Several coaches, administrators and players got together for the fifth annual Suburban League Football Kick Off Luncheon Wednesday at the Cuyahoga Falls Natatorium.

The Suburban League enters its fifth year as a two-conference, 15-team league.

Former Cuyahoga Falls assistant football coach Tom DiFrancesco hosted the event. The league is sponsored by Blind and Sons of Barberton.

Suburban League commissioner Keith Walker didn’t shy away from talking about the league’s success since the two-conference format first took place.

"Twelve stadiums now have artificial turf," Walker said. "We had seven students at Suburban League Schools who earned OHSAA and NEDAB (Northeast Ohio District Athletic Board) academic scholarships.

"We also have an amazing group of bands. There are about 2,300 band members who support our football teams. There is nothing like Friday night football in Northeast Ohio."

Just three Suburban League teams reached the playoffs in 2018 after seven league members advanced to the postseason the previous year.

The Suburban League has been handing out all-sports competition trophies since 1976. Recipients of this prestigious award were Wadsworth for the National Conference and Highland for the American Conference.

Walker also welcomed some new faces to the luncheon as teams from both conferences switched administrators and coaches.

Stow-Munroe Falls is led by second-year head coach Tom Phillips, who has a larger number of athletes on his roster this season.

"I think we had 62 on last year's roster," Phillips said. "This year, I've decided to increase that to 76. Nine through 12, we're at 105. We're excited about that.

"We had a great offseason. A lot of our guys are multi-sport guys."

Joining the Bulldogs, who have eight new members on their coaching staff, is John Nemec, who was previously the head coach at Kent Roosevelt. Nemec recently served as the University of Akron football team’s director of player personnel.

"We're excited to have John," Phillips said. "We have three head coaches on staff."

A 10-week regular season leaves little margin for error when it comes to being successful. Phillips, who guided Stow to a 5-5 overall record and a 5-2 mark in the National Conference after a 1-5 start, wouldn’t want it any other way.

"Football is unique," he said. "We don't have that second chance like basketball and baseball where you have a home and away game. You have one shot. You win or you lose."

Reporter Frank Aceto can be reached at 330-541-9444, faceto@recordpub.com or @FrankAceto_RPC.