Schools of Thought: Changes abound in H.S. football

The high school football schedules for the 2013 season have been released and there will be some changes to the Section II landscape next year.

Three things have jumped out at me immediately. Class B, especially the West Division, is getting crowded as Scotia-Glenville has dropped from Class A to B as the BEDS count has been reshuffled by the state. Class B is growing at the expense of Class A, which only has nine teams remaining. No teams will be left behind in Class D as it will join the rest of Section II with an eight-game playoff.

Scotia-Glenville will move into an already crowded Class B West. With the Tartans, who had earned the second seed in the Class A Southeast last year and the return of the Johnstown Sir Bills, the division will have eight teams.

Last year, Glens Falls came down from Class A and into the Class B West and won the sectional title. It will be interesting to see where Scotia-Glenville, which has shown a great deal of improvement in recent years, will stand among the section’s other Class B teams.

One Class B team with a lot of question marks is the Johnstown Sir Bills, who are on the schedule as I was expecting. During a meeting with parents in December, coach Matt Benton told me the Sir Bills plan to be back in 2013. After forcing to forfeit their remaining season after three games last year, I hope the Sir Bills have enough numbers to make it through this year. A repeat of 2012 would be devastating for the program.

With the addition of Scotia-Glenville and the return of Johnstown, Class B West will have a full schedule. All seven games will count in the divisional standings with no room for crossovers. Every game will matter and the further each team gets into the season, the more it will have to play for, ratcheting up the intensity. It should make for some good football down the stretch.

I was a bit unhappy with Class D last year because of its four-team playoff bracket. Even though Salem from the North division knocked off the South’s top seed Cambridge in the semifinals last year, I still believe the South was superior to the North from top to bottom. The playoffs may have been a lot more interesting if the format allowed Greenwich, which was moved to the North this year, and Canajoharie in as the North’s No. 3 and No. 4 seeds.

It’s good to see the powers that be have rectified that problem and with the addition of Schoburg, the combined Schoharie and Duanesburg team, has increased the number of teams participating in postseason play.

Now, onto Class A.

Over the last two seasons, the section’s second-largest classification – by enrollment – has lost two teams and is now down to nine teams. What’s worse is Class A is stubbornly clinging to an eight-team playoff. That means one team will not make the playoffs.

Yes, one team will be left out and one entire division will make the playoffs if they stay with the current format of selecting the top four teams from each division for the playoffs. Why even bother playing a regular season? It means nothing if everyone moves on because you don’t have to accomplish anything to get in.

Even last year, I couldn’t fathom Class A having an eight-team playoff. The Gloversville Huskies made the playoffs after winning only one divisional game, and that win came over South Glens Falls, a perennial weak program. Then, the following week, they were blown out of the playoffs by Troy.

Moving to a four-team format for such a small classification would eliminate the teams that shouldn’t be there from the playoffs. Let them play an eight-game season like Class D has the past several years.

The playoff berths would mean more if they were earned.

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