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 was introduced.

"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.

Aurora head coach Bob Mihalik certainly isn’t new to coaching. He will enter his 19th year in charge of the Greenmen, who missed the playoffs last season for the first time in 14 years.

Aurora certainly didn’t go down without a fight, though. The Greenmen finished a very respectable 7-3 overall and 4-2 in the conference.

"We’re excited to compete again in a great American division that’s competitive every year," Mihalik said. "The only advice I give to all of the players is you’re going to forget plays and different things that happen throughout your high school career.

"But you’re always going to remember the friendships and working out in the weight room. You’re going to remember those relationships and you’re going to be talking about it when you’re 54 years old."

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