MSHSL’s New Districts For Football Does No Favors For BLHS

UPDATE: Sources tell me that BLHS will be switching to nine-man football in two years, so in reflection of that this plan does some sense sense. It still does a screw job on BLHS and RCW, though.We’ll explore that in a new post coming quite soon.

Hey, Buffalo Lake – Hector –Stewart football fans, are you ready for 2015 Homecoming against Hancock High School? How about 2016 against Underwood High School? How do you feel about traveling just went of Brainerd to see your son play under those Friday night lights? Well, you better like it because that is what a 10 person committee under the direction of the Minnesota State High School League has just assigned the BLHS football team to do.

On Monday, it was announced by the High School League that they have adopted ‘District Football’ scheduling for 2015 and beyond. The claim is that this is to help some smaller schools in the state that were having trouble filling out an eight game football schedule every year. The High School League puts it on the small town schools, but what they did to BLHS makes it seem like it was so that Eden Prairie doesn’t have to fly to Winnipeg, Canada to play another team.

The High School League divided the state up into 18 districts taking into account the size of the school and apparently location. The Mustangs were put in the West District with 26 other teams in the state. The kicker of it is that along with the Mustangs, Renville County West and MACCRAY are the only teams in the district that are south of St. Cloud.

The districts are tasked with breaking into subdivisions, assuming that the district will break into south and north divisions, BLHS will have the following teams to play during the regular season: Renville County West, MACCRAY, Hancock, Clinton-Graceville-Beardsley, Wheaton Hermann Norcross, Brandon-Evansville, Ashby, Bertha-Hewitt, Verndale, Underwood, Hillcrest Lutheran Academy and Rothsay.

If BLHS and Rothsay were to play, one team would have to travel 164 miles one way. By the time the bus departs after a football game the visiting team would probably not arrive home until around 2 AM.

On the Minnesota State High School League’s website it says the following on its post about the districting process, “More than 90 percent of the schools’ requests were met, and a significant majority of schools were placed in a district with most, if not all, of the schools that they now play.”

BLHS didn’t play a single team in their new district in 2013.

The High School League did this in an attempt to even out the playing field, but it really does screw over a little team like BLHS. Gone are the rivalries with Cedar Mountain/Comfrey, New Ulm Cathedral, Sleepy Eye Public and Sleepy Eye St. Mary’s and instead the biggest in-season rival now for the Mustangs will be RCW.

All those now soon-to-be former rivals of BLHS are in the same Southwest district, a district that barely reaches south of Mankato instead of reaching all the way up to Thief River Falls, a district that would be perfect and really the same as what BLHS currently has.

The bright side for BLHS is that in the district placement, they are one of the big dogs enrollment wise. BLHS will be the fourth biggest school enrollment wise in the West district, where they’d be 12th out of 19 if magically placed in the Southwest.

When undergoing a big task like this someone is always going to get hurt. It just happens to be that a couple farm schools down on 212 didn’t quite grab the attention of the districting squad. It just seems wrong that the country boys have a better chance of playing a team on the Iron Range than taking on the kids on the other side of the corn field.

For more on the Minnesota State High School League’s new district program for football click here.(you may need to click on District Football at the top to stop it from scrolling)

To see a map of where all schools in the new district for BLHS are click here.