With the amount of students dropping at local schools, I have a thought that within the next few years we might start seeing more schools combine their programs.
The current BEDS numbers are an indication that our area schools are getting smaller and smaller. Most of our schools are Class C or D as it is right now, and there has been a rumor flying around that Attica is dropping from a B to a C next year.
I just confirmed that the Blue Devils will be playing in Class C next season, but just for football. It will probably be for all sports the year after next.
"I think it's good and it gives us an opportunity to see some different teams," Attica coach Jeff Cusmano said. "I don't think Class C is any easier (for sectionals). You still have your teams like Le Roy, Pembroke and Letchworth, but from a physical standpoint it may help us out."
This year's graduating class at Attica is 147 and Cusmano's son is in third grade, where there are only 100 kids in the class. So enrollment is going to keep dropping in Attica.
Playing in Class C is no cake-walk as Cusmano said, but will give the Blue Devils a better chance to compete. Attica has only won two sectional games in its history, playing in Class B. They knocked off East Rochester/Gananda for the second this year, but then were destroyed by Bath.
"When we go into a Class B playoff game, you have to be able to match up and we couldn't do that with Bath," Cusmano said. "You have teams like Geneva and Hornell that are (larger schools) and pretty tough. We will be able to better match up in sectionals."
With the amount of Class D schools we are going to have in the Genesee Region League and Livingston Conference, is it possible that teams are going to have to merge sports so that there are enough Class C schools to compete.
This past year we saw Elba and Byron-Bergen combine their football program, and it is likely that more athletic teams will be hooking up from those two schools.
Oakfield-Alabama and Pembroke were Class C this year, but both are expected to be Class D very soon.
Section 5 has the most amount of Class D schools in the state, and I'm just wondering if we are going to see more merging. As it is right now, Class D plays one less regular season game because they have to be divided into two classes, and have a playoff after sectionals to see which team moves on to states.
There is currently talk of making the Class D sectionals just a four team competition and allowing schools to play a full seven week regular season. While other classes have eight schools in the playoffs, Class D would only get four teams.
Will Oakfield-Alabama and Pembroke combine programs so that they can compete in Class C or even be a small B school? Caledonia-Mumford has been moved down to Class D and enrollment keeps dropping, so are they going to join up with another school so they can play in an eight team playoff?
This may or may not happen, but with Class D becoming so overloaded, I think we are going to see some major changes in Section 5 football in the near future.