IF it happened
If the PIAA did decide to go to 6 classes for 2016, or beyond, I wondered what the difference in class breakdowns would mean for District One, which is my base of operation. How would the teams be sorted out? But I have only current enrollment figures – the enrollment figures will certainly be different, especially at the cusps of the class limits, come actual time.
Even so, if the breakdown was now here is the distribution for District One. The current 44 Class AAAA teams, the most of any district in the state, would divide into 30 Class 6A and 14 Class 5A which would be joined by 12 former 3A clubs for 26 Class 5A teams.
Based on recent 4A playoff experience and historically strong teams, this would divide some of the former 16 4A playoff teams. Most of the former strong 4A would be 6A teams; but Plymouth Whitemarsh, Upper Dublin, Garnet Valley, West Chester Rustin, West Chester Henderson, and Unionville would be 5A in classification. Moving up from 3A and joining these Class 5A teams would be Academy Park, Interboro, Great Valley, Springfield Delco, and Strath Haven.
One can easily visualize that if a 16-team Class 6A playoff was still held, which is unlikely, there would be room for four “new” teams as Garnet Valley, Upper Dublin, and both West Chester teams noted above all were in the 4A last season. Now there would be added incentive for those same four teams to push for the 5A crown, as all the teams that beat them in last year’s 4A they would not to have to face in their playoffs going forward. The 3A teams mentioned above have all had good seasons in recent times, but would the move from 3A to 5A be deemed a giant leap? I don’t think it really would; remember the classification tag is just a grouping. These 3A teams faced the same teams year in and year out in regular season play, whether the opponents were then classed 4A or with the change, 6A.
The 4A class would be all new in District 1 – all former 3A schools – Upper Moreland, Pottsgrove, Glen Mills, Bishop Shanahan, Upper Perkiomen, Pottstown, Octorara, and Pope John Paul II.
Whether any playoffs, even the 6A with 30 teams would maintain a 16-team playoff is unlikely. More likely it would revert to 8. And 26 teams in 5A may also be eight. Only 8 teams in 4A would likely result in some multi-district class 4A playoff scenario.
Only two teams would make 3A as of now in District One – Lower Moreland, and Springfield Montco. Presently both are 2A, and a multi-district playoff would undoubtedly be called for in the 3A class.
Remaining in 2A as they are currently would be Bristol, New Hope-Solebury, and Valley Forge Military Academy. Again, a multi-district playoff would be needed.
The present four teams in D1 One A – Calvary Christian, Delaware County Christian, Jenkintown, and Morrisville would remain as 1A teams.
The enrollment numbers will change and influence some of the relationships above, but I think it is logical to see 8-team playoffs for classes 6A and 5A, and multiple-district pairings for the other 4 classes for District One.
I wonder how the playoff points system will be changed for 6 classes. Now for a 4A team, if you beat another 4A it is 100 points; if you beat a 3A 80 points; if you beat a 2A 60 points; and for a win over a 1A 40 points. Using that system there is only 20 left. If you equated it to 6A, you would get 20 points for beating a 2A with only 0 left for a 1A. Maybe that would hold, as a 6A playing a 1A is seemingly too wide a class gap, but there may be some other system being considered.
Because the new 6A and 5A classes will be made of primarily the present big 4A class and the bigger 3A schools, maybe the playoff points should be for a 6A beating a 6A 100 points, but for beating a 5A, 90 points; over a 4A 70 points; a 3A 50 points; a 2A 30 points, and the 1A 10 points. There are many ways this can be accomplished; the PIAA will figure it out.
I was also interested in how the powerful District 7 4A schools would sort out under the new classifications.
Only Pittsburgh Central Catholic, Penn Hills, and North Allegheny make it to the 6A classification of the prominent names we know in the east due to finals appearances.
The 5A Class would include Pine-Richland, Woodland Hills, North Hills, Upper Saint Clair, and McKeesport; all former 4A, and Gateway and Franklin Regional, both now 3A.
South Fayette, recent two-time state champion would be a large AAA school in the new format; only 8 more male enrollment short of 4A. For comparison purposes, Archbishop Wood would be in 5A and Berwick in 4A.
The Philadelphia Catholic League would see its present 4A teams all make the 6A class. But the former 3A would split up with Ryan and Wood 5A, and O’Hara, Bonner-Prendie, and Carroll all 4A teams. Lansdale Catholic, Conwell-Egan & Neumann-Goretti would be 3A schools. Bishop McDevitt would gain 2A by 4 students currently. West Catholic would remain 1A, but likely opt to play up to 2A as they do currently. Scheduling and playoffs get quite interesting considering what might be.
I hope the decision to go to 6 classifications is approved; for the two main reasons of reducing the season from 16 to 15 weeks, and to provide 2 additional state champions. I know opinions out there vary, but I think there are few that would not like the finals to occur a week earlier in December than they do now for various reasons. I also do not think that 2 additional state champions is a great increase over 4 in percentages per schools playing football. I do not think the playoffs will be “watered down” as some suggest, because I think the reduction in number of schools per class will reduce some 16-team playoffs to 8; and there will be more multi-district playoffs mixing the best from several districts as there are in some classes now.
However, either way, I know that the 2015 season will not be affected and am already looking forward as easternPAfootball counts down the days.
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