retool grid leagues
IHSAA meets to ratify structure
Over the last three months, the Blaine
County School District through its superintendent Jim Lewis and Carey School
football coach Lane Kirkland has made a major push to restructure small school
football in Idaho.
For safety reasons and to improve
competitiveness in the Idaho 1A eight-man football ranks, the Carey proposal has
been to restructure the small schools into Division 1 (100-159 students) and
Division 2 (under 100 students for grades 9-12).
Furthermore, Kirkland’s proposal is to
have an eight-team state playoff for 1A Division 1 as well as an eight-team
state playoff for 1A Division 2.
This fall was the first time Idaho 1A
schools played exclusively eight-man football instead of a combination of 11-man
and eight-man. There was only an eight-team state playoff for the 2003 season.
In Idaho, there are 42 1A football schools.
As Kirkland said last week, "This year’s
tournament bracket really demonstrated that the bigger schools will prevail."
Cascade (124 students) defeated Council (131) for this year’s 1A state
The Idaho High School Activities
Association board of directors met Tuesday in Boise.
On its agenda was the final reading of
Carey School’s proposal to have two eight-team 1A divisions starting in
2004—with each division determining their own state championships.
Kirkland, whose 63-student Carey School
falls into the Division 2 category based on student enrollment, expected the
proposal to be approved.
Accordingly, members of the Sawtooth and
Magic Valley Conferences have already taken steps to set up a new football
schedule for the 2004-06 classification cycle.
Dr. Lewis chaired a three-and-a-half hour
meeting Nov. 10 at Burley during which the 17 schools playing eight-man football
in southern Idaho (Fourth, Fifth, Sixth Districts) were divided along
geographical and enrollment lines.
The Magic Valley Conference of larger
Division 1 schools will include Castleford, Hagerman, Hansen, Oakley, Raft River
The Division 2 Sawtooth Conference will be
split into Sawtooth West (Carey, Camas County, Dietrich, Murtaugh and Richfield)
and Sawtooth East (Clark County, Mackay, North Gem, Rockland and Sho-Ban).
Lighthouse Christian is an independent
school not eligible for state-qualifying playoffs.
Next fall’s rotation has Carey playing, in
order, Clark County, North Gem, Dietrich, Rockland, Camas County, Richfield and
Four are Sawtooth West league games, three
are against Sawtooth East teams and one against a Magic Valley Conference larger
Kirkland hopes that four out of the 10
Sawtooth East/West teams will qualify for the State Division 2 playoffs starting
in the fall of 2004.
Both Kirkland and Lewis have emphasized
during the restructuring process that the sense of small town pride and identity
common to Idaho 1A eight-man football will be enhanced under the new system.