AUGUSTA, Maine — The classification committee of the Maine Principals’ Association will have a modified four-class football proposal to consider when it meets Wednesday to complete its work for the next two-year academic cycle.
The football committee recently updated its plan in part to address appeals by Gorham and Oceanside High School of Rockland-Thomaston concerning their previous placements.
“We placed a lot of calls to a lot of athletic directors, and they were able to get feedback from their coaches, and everybody’s on board,” said Todd Livingston, athletic administrator at South Portland High School. “Everything we’ve been doing has been in the best interests of football in the state of Maine.”
Once the classification committee completes its work, the proposal must make its way through the MPA’s interscholastic management committee and then face a vote of the association’s general membership in late March.
Gorham, which had been placed in Western Maine Class A in the earlier proposal after being moved to Class B by enrollment in previous drafts, is back in Western B under the current plan.
Oceanside, which had been shifted from Western B to Eastern B in the previous proposal, requested to be returned to the West for competitive reasons and has been placed there in the latest breakdown.
The updated proposal leaves just eight teams in both Eastern and Western Maine Class A after the minimum enrollment for that class was revised from 850 to 875.
With just eight teams in each division, it’s likely each team would play two crossover games against teams from the other division to complete a nine-game regular-season schedule, with four teams from each division then advancing to postseason play.
Livingston said a committee made up of representatives from both the Pine Tree Conference Class A schools (Bangor, Lewiston, Edward Little of Auburn and Oxford Hills of South Paris) and the Southwestern Maine Activities that includes the rest of the Class A schools will meet soon to discuss scheduling issues.
Class B would consist of schools with an enrollment between 600 and 874, and in its current configuration the football committee’s proposal has nine schools in Eastern Maine and 11 in Western Maine. If unchanged, that format likely would require crossover games to fill out regular-season schedules.
The change in the enrollment cutoff between Classes A and B also meant that Brunswick (870 students) and Mount Ararat of Topsham (867) would join Gorham in shifting from Class A to Class B.
Mount Ararat previously requested to petition down two classes from its former Class A status — the football committee agreed to drop the Eagles one class to Class B — and in that case would have become ineligible for postseason play. Under the updated plan, the Eagles would remain eligible for the playoffs as a Class B school by enrollment.
One other enrollment cutoff adjustment involving Classes C and D leaves both classes with two 10-team regional divisions, as opposed to the previous proposal that had two nine-team divisions in Class C and two 11-team groupings in Class D.
The minimum cutoff for Class C was dropped from 460 to 450, moving Foxcroft Academy (457 students) and Yarmouth (456) from Class D to Class C under the latest football committee plan.
“We got some feedback saying that instead of having nine and 11 teams to have 10 and 10, because that would reduce the need for crossover games,” said Livingston.
Another factor in that change was that with the previous proposal, only seven of the nine teams in Eastern C would have been eligible for postseason play, as Nokomis of Newport and Camden Hills of Rockport — Class B schools by enrollment — already had petitioned down for competitive reasons and will not be eligible for postseason play during the next two-year cycle.
Four-class football proposal
Eastern A (875+): Lewiston, Bangor, Windham, Oxford Hills of South Paris, Edward Little of Auburn, Deering of Portland, Portland and Cheverus of Portland..
Western A (875+): Thornton Academy of Saco, Bonny Eagle of Standish, Sanford, Scarborough, Massabesic of Waterboro, Noble of North Berwick, South Portland and Biddeford.
Eastern B: (600-874): Brunswick, Skowhegan, Messalonskee of Oakland, Cony of Augusta, Hampden Academy, Mt. Blue of Farmington, Lawrence of Fairfield, Brewer and Gardiner.
Western B (600-874): Gorham, Mount Ararat of Topsham, Falmouth, Marshwood of South Berwick, Kennebunk, Greely of Cumberland Center, Westbrook, Oceanside, Fryeburg Academy, Morse of Bath and York.
Eastern C (450-599): Nokomis, Camden Hills, Foxcroft Academy, Belfast, Waterville, Madison-Carrabec, Hermon, Mount Desert Island, Old Town and Winslow.
Western C (450-599): Leavitt of Turner Center, Lake Region of Naples, Cape Elizabeth, Gray-New Gloucester, Spruce Mountain of Jay-Livermore Falls, Freeport, Poland, Yarmouth, Wells and Mountain Valley of Rumford.
Eastern D (0-449): Ellsworth-Sumner, John Bapst of Bangor, Mount View of Thorndike, Maine Central Institute of Pittsfield, Washington Academy of East Machias, Bucksport, Orono, Mattanawcook Academy of Lincoln, Dexter and Stearns of Millinocket.
Western D (0-449): Oak Hill of Wales, Lisbon, Maranacook of Readfield, Sacopee Valley of South Hiram, Dirigo of Dixfield, Traip Academy of Kittery, Old Orchard Beach, Telstar of Bethel, Winthrop and Boothbay.