Two playoff teams in the same season? It happened in the City Series in 2018, and the league is rightly feeling proud of the accomplishment.

East and Buchtel both earned their way into the high school football postseason last year, the first time two Akron city schools did so since 2004.

Coaches and players from both schools were joined by the other four league schools Thursday at the annual football media day at the Akron Education Association building.

East won a Division III first-round state playoff game for the second time in three seasons. Coach Marques Hayes said 45-48 players are expected to comprise a deep squad and he expects that success to continue.

And Hayes said looking at his team's eligibility list recently yielded a proud realization.

"Out of 34 returning players, we had a team GPA of 3.3," said Hayes, who is in his eighth season guiding the Dragons. "And that's the first time we've had something that high at East since I've been here.

"I announced it to the guys before we went to practice, and you could tell these guys we're really excited about that. They were ecstatic."

Hayes was accompanied Thursday by seniors Deshawn Jones and Bangally Kamara.

And as usual, both East and Buchtel will tackle among the most challenging nonleague schedules in the area.

Buchtel assistant coach Johnnie Mundy brought seniors Marvin Jordan Jr. and Aaron Spooney.

With the Division IV playoff game included, the Griffins suited up for 11 games last season. But Mundy said the team has loftier goals now.

"At Buchtel, we kind of think outside the box," Mundy said. "We hold our guys accountable to a higher standard. We're looking to go 15 games — that 15th game puts us in the state championship. With us, it's like state or bust.

"The higher we set the bar, the better off the reward will be when we get there."

Joe Vassalotti, athletic director for Akron Public Schools, said he hopes the new on-campus field at Ellet will be completed in time for the Orangemen's first scheduled home game Sept. 6 against Tallmadge.

It will be the only turf field at any of the city schools, he said, thanks to the Cleveland Browns Foundation, and will be the site for some other city teams' home games.

Ellet coach Chuck Shuman brought seniors Calvin Alexander and David Haverstick to the luncheon.

"We'll be moving into a new building," Shuman said. "It's kind of hectic right now because there is no parking lot. There is no football field. There's not a whole lot of anything, but the locker room is there.

"Sometime a change is needed because you get used to doing the same thing and the same routine. We'll be moving off campus to practice."

Lack of depth could lead to plenty of guys playing both ways, Shuman added.

Firestone coach Eric Mitchell was joined by seniors Ka'Vaughn Lee and Trovon Davis.

"We're at the point to where we're in the middle of the pack," Mitchell said. "We need to take the next step forward.

"These young men have worked extremely hard to secure that opportunity. To compete with the nonleague schedule that we have, and also to compete with the perennial powers in our league."

Fourth-year North coach Sonil Haslam came with seniors Moses Epps and Dimitrius Williams.

"Everything we're doing is going towards Aug. 30 when we have to play Windham," Haslam said. "And we''re really not worried about anything else. I tell the kids every day, you show how you're going to be as a player, as a son, as a father, anything else. I'm truly privileged and grateful for having these guys here today."

Kenmore-Garfield coach Kemp Boyd brought juniors Austin Drouhard and Bryce Owens with him. But another junior, Marshall Thomas, showed the team's spirit through his deeds recently.

"I think there's a point where you have that defining moment that says where we're going to be at as a team," Boyd said.

It started when Thomas' mother approached Boyd at practice to inform him her son was late for practice because the family's house had caught on fire.

While out of town, an alert to her phone informed her of the situation and she knew her grandson was asleep at the home. She then called Marshall, who was waiting at the bus stop for a ride to conditioning.

"He gets the call, he runs back into a burning house to rescue his nephew," Boyd said. "These are the types of young men we coach.

"To see a kid who was late to practice, didn't make an excuse why he was late. As soon as he came out of the locker room, he started running his laps, because that's the expectation on our team.

"That just gives you perspective. I enjoy what I do, it's a passion of mine, but when you hear those kind of stories from a mom who got really emotional — man, you have to recognize those moments."