Another high school football season has come and gone and it's time to once again change the names of the divisions. It used to be East vs West. Now it's North vs South. It needs to be have's vs have not's.
First and foremost let me tell you that I do honestly believe that the MPA is trying to find answers to the multiple problems facing HS Football in our state. They have been creative, first going to four classes, and now 5 classes (class E does not get to play 'countable games'),but it is still not working.
We have tremendously lopsided scores (more often than not),with the same teams keep winning and the same teams keep losing, (more often than not). Not long ago, Maine was one of the fastest growing football states in the nation (per capita). Schools were adding the program, kids were playing at record numbers at all levels. Now, not so much.
Fewer kids are playing football at all levels and many high schools are having trouble fielding competitive teams because they don't have enough players.
Here is my solution, and oh by the way, not sure if it would work, but it hasn't been tried yet, at least not enough.
Co-op football. Yes I said it. Remember before you get mad at me that I went to Deering, my dad went to Deering and my grandfather went to Portland so I am well aware of 'tradition' in our state.
The only arguments I have heard against co-op football is tradition, pride, it's the way it's always been, etc... I get that, truly, but it's not the way it is anymore.
Let's take Portland and Deering as an example. The rosters have numbers in the 30's and the youth program is worse. The Portland Youth Football League has a total of about 44 kids in 6th, 7th, and 8th grade COMBINED. Those kids will be divided among 2 high schools (unless some choose to go to Cheverus) over the next 3 years. Simple math shows that if it's an even split, (which it's not) it's 22 kids per school, over 3 years, which is 7 new kids per school per season added to the football program.
Now, let's go to my co-op idea. Deering-Portland becomes one football team (notice how Deering was listed first), so does Bangor-Brewer, Noble-Marshwood, Cony-Gardiner, Waterville-Winslow, etc... I know, I know... People are sick to their stomachs now... You go from 5 classes, to back to 3.
Oh by the way, think of the money this would save schools. And don't pretend that's not important. 2 schools splitting one budget. Travel, uniforms, etc.... Maybe football would not be on the chopping block discussion each time a a budget came up.
Would there be some issues to work out? Absolutely. Will this fix it all? Probably not. Will some school stay 'singular' because they have enough kids in their school and in their programs? Sure if they want to. Is this better than 8 man football (which has been discussed), for me, definitely.
I LOVE high school football. I Created the 5th Quarter back in 1993 (With Solari) for that reason alone. I covered Randy Moss playing at Dupont, HS back in the early 1990's. But the times have changed, and I do not want high school football to go away. But that's the direction it is heading for multiple reasons in multiple towns across our state. Maybe my idea would help? I certainly don't think it can hurt.