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Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
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Copyright © 2003 Express Publishing Inc.
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 

For the week of October 29 - November 4, 2003


ADs advance plans
for new 4A league

WRHS to play nine grid games

Express Staff Writer

Athletic directors from Fourth and Fifth district high schools met last Wednesday in Pocatello to push along plans for a new seven-team conference in the 4A student population class.

They made decisions that will be submitted to the Idaho High School Activities Association (IHSAA) board of directors for a first reading at the board’s December meeting in Boise. The IHSAA is the governing body of Gem State high school athletics.

For Hailey’s Wood River High School, the new conference will be a huge challenge in terms of moving up a level in competition. Also, the Wolverine football team will be playing nine games instead of eight next fall.

Travel will be much heavier for Wood River, which will be traveling three hours one way to Pocatello and four-and-a-half hours one way to Preston. Right now, Wood River’s longest trips are about four hours round trip.

Wood River, moving up from 3A to 4A starting with the 2004-05 season, will be a member of the seven-team 4A Fourth/Fifth District division in south-central and southeast Idaho.

Other 4A teams are Jerome, Burley, Minico of Rupert, Pocatello, Century of Pocatello and Preston. Like Wood River, Preston is moving up from 3A to 4A for the 2004-06 cycle. Minico has moved from 5A to 4A.

Wood River athletic director Ron Martinez, with support from Jerome, floated a proposal to have the seven 4A schools split into two divisions—one with Jerome, Burley, Minico and Wood River, and the other with Pocatello, Century and Preston.

Under the proposal, designed to lessen travel for teams like Wood River, Jerome and Preston, the top two teams in each division would have clashed in first vs. second place playoffs at the end of the season to determine state berths, Martinez said.

Such a proposal, in the case of football, would have enabled Wood River to play league games against Jerome, Burley and Minico while maintaining traditional grid rivalries with schools like Buhl and Gooding.

However, Martinez’s proposal didn’t fly with the athletic directors.

For one thing, four of the schools, Burley, Minico, Pocatello and Century, are within an 80-mile driving distance of each other. Another attraction for a seven-team league was getting 2.5 state playoff berths in each sport except football, Martinez said.

The upshot:

Wood River will play six football games against its league opponents next fall. Non-conference games that Martinez has added to fill out the required nine-game schedule are two Idaho Falls 4A schools—Hillcrest and Bonneville—and Mountain Home.

Because of the nine-game grid slate, the new conference will be granted only two state football berths because the additional week of games rules out an inter-district playoff game needed to determine the winner of the half playoff berth, Martinez said.

Other sports in the Fourth/Fifth districts will have 2.5 state berths.

One concession that Wood River got from the recent athletic director meeting had to do with the long travel distances. Preston and Wood River will try to schedule as many Saturday games as possible to help lessen the impact of the four-and-a-half hour travel distance, according to Martinez.

No decision was made on the name of the new seven-team conference, which in recent years has been called the Great Basin Conference.

These are the other 4A schools in southern Idaho:

Sixth District—Bonneville, Blackfoot, Hillcrest, Madison and Rigby.

Third District—Bishop Kelly, Caldwell, Emmett, Kuna, Mountain Home, Vallivue of Caldwell, Nampa and Skyview. Nampa and Skyview have successfully petitioned down from 5A to 4A to put the Third District at eight teams next fall.



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