Schools reverse football district

By Jeff Chambers prairiepresssports@gmail.com
Posted 12/23/19

Almost exactly one year to the day that the Illinois High School Association approved district play in high school football, the proposal was reversed.

Voting took place throughout the first two …

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Schools reverse football district

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Almost exactly one year to the day that the Illinois High School Association approved district play in high school football, the proposal was reversed.

Voting took place throughout the first two weeks of December this year in hopes enough schools had time to digest exactly what would happen if this proposal had been allowed to stand.

Here are just a few things that would have happened if this proposal had not been reversed.

The IHSA would have been in charge of scheduling seven regular season games with teams that are similar in size to Paris. Schools would then be responsible for scheduling two “open dates” with teams of their choosing.

Conferences as we now know them would cease to exist. There would be no more Little Illini Conference. No more matchups with familiar foes like Marshall, Casey, Robinson, and Newton.

The closest district game that the Tigers would play- based on their 2019 enrollment would be against Tolono-Unity. The farthest would be Macomb and Quincy (Notre Dame) which is more than three hours from home.

Only the seven games played against district foes would count towards qualifying for the playoffs, with the top four teams in each of the eight-team districts making the postseason.

With the original proposal passing by a mere 17 votes — out of 700 total votes — a grassroots effort began almost immediately to overturn this decision.

Coaches from schools like Paris — and including

Paris — began reaching out to schools who either did not vote last year, or voted for districts in order to sway those on the fence to reconsider. The hard work paid off as the proposal was voted down by a 349-328 margin, with 24 schools deciding not to vote.

One of the happiest people in Paris is head football coach Jeremy Clodfelter. “I think we as a school, as a program, and as a community should be very pleased with the outcome.” He added, “This keeps conference football intact, as well as great rivalries. It also provides the opportunity for our spectacular fan-base to see us more often, whether at home or on the road.”

While things do not always work out in the “little guy’s” benefit, the reversal of this proposal means that Friday nights around central Illinois will remain status quo for at least the foreseeable future.