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Nashua;62.0;http://forecast.weather.gov/images/wtf/small/nskc.png;2014-07-22 03:20:09
Thursday, June 19, 2014

NHIAA should try football setup with other sports

Joe Marchilena

The high school sports season is over.

It’s time to relax and regroup before football season starts Aug. 13. But before we push the high school teams from our minds, lets take a few deep breaths, look back on the year that was and ponder a few things for the future. ...

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The high school sports season is over.

It’s time to relax and regroup before football season starts Aug. 13. But before we push the high school teams from our minds, lets take a few deep breaths, look back on the year that was and ponder a few things for the future.

n Practice got underway Monday for the CHaD East-West All-Star Football game, and while I was at Manchester Memorial for the West practice, I overheard a Concord kid ask a Plymouth kid in what division his school played. While it took me a moment to remember, without hesitating the Plymouth kid answered Division II.

This fall will be the second year – and first in a two-year cycle – for the NHIAA’s three-division football alignment. Despite some tweaks and minor changes, the question is no longer should it remain in place, but rather, why can’t other sports be realigned into larger divisions with multiple conferences within each division?

n That two-year cycle goes for all sports, not just football, so there will be a few changes made with teams moving up and down based on their enrollment.

One of the biggest changes will be in boys lacrosse, in which four teams – Bedford, Merrimack, Dover and one unknown team – will move up to Division I, and a handful of teams, including Hollis Brookline and Milford, will move up to Division II.

It’s a much needed change, as D-I and D-II had just 12 teams in recent years while D-III had 22, and it will hopefully create a little more parity within the top two divisions.

n Speaking of lacrosse, when Bedford won the boys and girls D-II championships last week, it gave the school 11 team championships for the 2013-14 school year. To put that in better perspective, the other 10 schools in Greater Nashua won a combined nine team championships, with five of those coming in the spring.

Since it opened its doors for the 2007-08 school year, Bedford High School has won 33 team championships, with 25 of those coming in the last three school years. Locally, only Bishop Guertin (13) and Souhegan (11) have more than 10 in that same time.

n There will be one big change for football this season, with all three division championship games being held at the University of New Hampshire on Nov. 22.

Football joins baseball (Northeast Delta Dental Stadium), hockey (Verizon Wireless Arena) and field hockey (Bedford High School) as sports that have all of the division championship games consistently played on the same day at the same place.

Next fall, boys soccer also will have all four championship games on the same day at Southern New Hampshire University, but for some reason, girls soccer will not follow along. Two championships will be at SNHU and two at Laconia High School, at the same time.

That’s slightly more manageable than boys and girls lacrosse has been for the last few years, with multiple championship games played at the same time in several different locations.

The downside to Bedford’s winning the boys and girls titles was that athletic director Bill Whitmore only got to see the beginning of the girls game before leaving SNHU for the boys game.

With that one in Exeter, he made it just in time for the end. I’m sure there were some fans and parents who were torn on which game to go to.

It may not be an easy fix for the NHIAA, but it’s one that should be made. Sports that aren’t football may not draw crowds as large, but that doesn’t mean holding all the championship games at the same location won’t draw a crowd.

But that’s a headache for another day. Now it’s time to enjoy summer.

Joe Marchilena can be reached at 594-6478 or jmarchilena@nashuatelegraph.com. Also, follow Marchilena on Twitter (@Telegraph_JoeM).