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For the week of Jan 29 - Feb 4, 2003


Sawtooth grid league gets new look

Eight-man football

Eight-man high school football in southern Idaho will have an entirely new look during the 2003 season.

Representatives from 16 schools including Carey and Camas County of Fairfield met in Burley Monday to decide the immediate future of eight-man.

Two developments since the end of the 2002 season necessitated the regional meeting.

The first was the decision of a handful of Class 1A 11-man football teams including Raft River, Hagerman, Oakley and Mackay to abandon 11-man and go to eight-man in 2003.

Also, the Idaho High School Activities Association board of control on Jan. 21 decided to preserve the status quo next year in rejecting a proposal by Carey and Rockland to split eight-man football into two divisions divided by higher and lower student population.

Monday’s meeting ended with a split of the 16 southern Idaho schools into two leagues—the Magic Valley Conference of predominantly southern tier schools and the Sawtooth Conference of northern/eastern schools.

Sawtooth Conference: Carey, Camas County, Dietrich, Richfield, Clark County of Dubois, North Gem of Bancroft, Rockland and Sho-Ban of Fort Hall.

Magic Valley Conference: Castleford, Hagerman, Hansen, Mackay, Murtaugh, Oakley, Raft River and Shoshone.

Although Districts 4-6 have expanded from 12 to 16 teams, the region will still only get three state berths out of the eight-team playoffs next year. Getting more representation at state was a concern of coaches and athletic directors Monday.

As it stands, the winners of each conference will automatically qualify for state and play each other for state seeding. The second-place teams based on regular-season standings will also face off—with only the winner going to state.

Carey athletic director Blaine Tingey said he expects the Panthers to play each other team in its conference and also pick up another non-conference contest to make up an eight-game 2003 schedule.


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