JAY DAVIS: Football landscape set for change to seven classes

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If the proposal is finalized at the South Dakota High School Activities Association Board of Directors meeting in Pierre on Feb. 27, the separation between the state’s biggest schools and the rest of the field will be greater than ever before.

This fall will see the addition of a seventh class in high school football. The eight biggest schools (actually seven biggest and Sioux Falls O’Gorman) will start a new division called 11AAA.

And to think just 90 years ago, coach Bat Nelson had his Mobridge Orange and Black (Tigers was not the adopted mascot until 1929) travel to Sioux Falls to take on the state’s biggest school for the de facto 1922 state championship. History will not be repeated for the 100th anniversary in 2022.

That was a far-reaching way to say that this new alignment doesn’t really have anything to do with Mobridge-Pollock, or any of the schools in the area, or any of the schools that the Tigers and area schools compete with.

The new 11AAA division is Aberdeen Central, Brandon Valley, the two Rapid City schools (Central and Stevens) and the four Sioux Falls schools (O’Gorman, Lincoln, Roosevelt and Washington).

11AA will be the next 10 biggest (450 students or more) Brookings, Douglas, Harrisburg, Huron, Mitchell, Pierre, Spearfish, Sturgis, Watertown and Yankton.

Things settle a bit with the rest of the divisions, but with changing populations there will be some changes.

The Tigers will be in 11B with our most common opponents being the usual suspects except for Webster. The Bearcats will be dropping to nine-man football.

The rest of our schedule should stay pretty much intact with Linton-HMB, Aberdeen Roncalli, Redfield-Doland, Winner and Groton Area at 11B opponents and Cheyenne-Eagle Butte and Chamberlain at 11A opponents.

Nine-man football will see some shifting also, but not too much. McLaughlin-Wakpala will be the only area team in 9AA. Herreid-Selby Area, Lemmon-McIntosh and Timber Lake are slated for 9A. It looks like Eureka-Bowdle will be dropping to 9B.

None of this is set in stone. There are teams that will want to petition for a move or protest this proposal, but after the Feb. 27 meeting, the picture should be pretty clear.

Before leaving this column, I have to make sure there is no mistake made in any perception of what my wardrobe will be like for an upcoming Lady Tiger basketball games.

While I am an ardent fan of the girls, and I do have some superstitions in sports, sorry, basketball moms, but the Green Bay Packers jersey has been returned to its rightful owner. Besides, green and gold clash with my eyes.

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