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District scheduling could prove helpful for area prep football teams
For the past few years or so, the Minnesota State High School League has tried to find a solution to the scheduling woes that have plagued prep football. Teams in small conferences or in no conference at all have found it difficult to fill out an entire eight-game regular-season schedule.
What the MSHSL came up with is a plan called “district scheduling.” Every high school football team in the state is now a member of one of 18 districts and starting in the 2015 season will play eight regular-season games against other teams in the same district.
District scheduling was approved in January and districts were announced in June. A committee assigned teams to districts using enrollment, geography, like schools and current conference membership and current opponents as key criteria. Schools were also allowed to submit requests for three teams they would like to continue to play and, according to the MSHSL, 90 percent of those requests were honored.
Up to this point, Roseville and Concordia haven’t had too much trouble fleshing out their schedules each year, but that could have changed because of some conference changes that each is going through in this upcoming school year.
The Raiders didn’t need to find any non-conference foes for the past few years because its conference, the Suburban East, had 10 teams. Roseville and the other nine SEC teams played conference opponents in all eight regular-season games.
District scheduling would have been nice to have for the 2014 season for Roseville because the Suburban East Conference has a bit of a new look with the departure of Hastings to the new Metro East Conference. With only nine teams in the SEC, eight of the nine were forced to find a non-conference opponent for this fall.
Roseville fared pretty well in finding a non-conference game for 2014. The Raiders play at Edina in the final game of the regular season. They did better than SEC rival Mounds View, which could find only a team from eastern Wisconsin to play and must travel for the game.
After this year, Roseville’s football schedule will be made up of teams from the East Metro district, which consists of 26 teams, nine of which are the current members of the Suburban East Conference. Nine other teams in the district are from the Metro East Conference and the other eight are from the South Suburban Conference.
Each district is allowed to divide into sub-districts as it sees fit. That would allow for the Metro East district to divide along the conference lines and fill in the hole in each team’s schedule with a team from one of the other conferences.
With the Tri-Metro Conference consisting of 12 schools for football the past few years, scheduling hasn’t been much of a problem for the Beacons. Trying to find opponents from similarly-sized schools has.
The Tri-Metro Conference had 13 members last school year and was scheduled to increase to 16. Some defections then dropped the population to 10, a number that helps teams avoid having to find non-conference games assuming everyone is willing to play each other.
Some of the smaller schools are allowed to opt out of playing the bigger schools and then both are forced to find non-conference games.
Concordia Academy is one of those smaller schools and head football coach and activities director Brian Brown applauded the move to district scheduling.
“We’re very happy that the Minnesota State High School League stepped in,” Brown said last week. “A lot of the schools in our district are like us as far as size and participation.”
New to the Tri-Metro Conference in the fall will be Columbia Heights, Fridley and Holy Angels. The MSHSL placed Columbia Heights and Fridley in the Tri-Metro following the breakup of the North Suburban Conference and placed Holy Angels there after the Missota Conference disbanded.
The addition of those schools didn’t sit well with some of the schools already in the conference and six of them decided to secede and form their own conference. Blake, Breck, Minnehaha Academy, Mounds Park Academy, Providence Academy and St. Paul Academy left the Tri-Metro to form the Independent Metro Athletic Conference.
The five IMAC football teams and eight from the Tri-Metro will be put back together for football in 2015 as part of the Twin City district. Those 12 teams are joined by the seven from the Minneapolis City Conference, the six from the St. Paul City Conference, Mound Westonka from the Wright County Conference and one independent in Spectrum, a charter school located in Elk River.
Tri-Metro Conference teams not in the Twin City district are Holy Angels and DeLaSalle, which were placed in the Suburban district.
With 27 teams from which to choose when assembling a football schedule, Brown expects Concordia to be able to get all eight regular-season game against schools of a similar size.
“It’s healthier for all those involved,” Brown said. “It’s a better deal all the way around.”
Brian Meyers can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
2014 Roseville Area High School
Aug. 28 vs. Stillwater 7 p.m.
Sept. 5 vs. Woodbury 7 p.m.
Sept. 12 at Park-Cottage Grove 7 p.m.
Sept. 19 vs. Mounds View 7 p.m.
Sept. 26 at East Ridge 7 p.m.
Oct. 3 vs. Forest Lake 7 p.m.
Oct. 10 at Cretin-Derham Hall 7 p.m.
Oct. 15 at Edina 7 p.m.
2014 Concordia Academy football schedule
Aug. 28 at St. Paul Academy 4:15 p.m.
Sept. 5 vs. St. Anthony Village 7 p.m.
Sept. 12 vs. St. Croix Lutheran 7 p.m.
Sept. 19 at St. Paul Humboldt 4 p.m.
Sept. 26 at New Life Academy 7 p.m.
Oct. 3 vs. Brooklyn Center 7 p.m.
Oct. 10 at Columbia Heights 7 p.m.
Oct. 15 vs. St. Agnes 7 p.m.