Changes in classification

NSAA releases 2018-19 football schdules

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Friday night lights at Bearcat Stadium have remained concrete in the history of Scottsbluff High School. However, the concrete will be experiencing some changes this coming year.
“My first reaction was that we don’t have to travel too much, which is great,” head football coach Joe Benson said.
“What brought this about was the safety of players,” athletic director Dave Hoxworth said.
“There was a huge disparity between the top of Class B and the bottom of Class B. All of the schools formed a committee and started looking at ratios,” Hoxworth said.
“For example, a couple of years ago, Sidney was involved in a playoff game against Elkhorn South and they traveled with 30-some players to the game. They got to the game, and Elkhorn South had, like, 90 players, which is a huge gap,” he said.
The new classification system eliminated the gap between larger and smaller schools in Class B by pushing some of the bigger schools out of Class B and into Class A. It also bumped the smaller schools down to Class C1.
The classifying system relies on gender, which is part of the reason there are only 23 schools remaining in Class B.
“Obviously, having only 23 schools takes some of the perennial powers like Gretna and Elkhorn South out of the equation. That should equal the playing field even more in Class B,” Benson said.
“Our players are resilient, so they just kind of get ready for whoever shows up on the schedule,” Benson said of the player’s reaction to the change.
“With the new system, girls’ basketball will be looked at for girls and wrestling will be looked at for boys numbers only. That’s the way football is now: boys only,” Hoxworth said.
As for right now, Scottsbluff is sitting pretty high in Class B.
“We’re still in the top of B right now, but if we were to get an influx of boys, we could be in the bottom of Class A range. I don’t see us being in Class A anytime soon,” Hoxworth continued.
“I hope not, because there’s nobody back east that wants us to be in Class A any more then we want to be in Class A. Our nearest competition would be Kearney,” he said.
One of the advantages of playing teams closer to home is that the players spend more time in class and don’t miss out on important information, since they won’t be traveling excessively long distances.
“One of the good things is less time is spent out of class. When we have a trip to Aurora or York or something like that, our kids miss a whole day of school. Even for trips to Grand Island and Hastings, our kids are leaving at 9 in the morning and almost missing a whole day of school,” Hoxworth said.
“A couple of teams on our schedule that are a little closer will help our kids stay in school,” he said.
“Also, getting home at 2 or 3 in the morning from those trips is hard. You’re basically gone 20 hours to play an hour-and-a-half game. You drive 6 hours one way and, between the time it takes to eat and make stops, you’re gone a long time,” he said.
Now that the state does the scheduling instead of the athletic directors, all the athletic directors have to do now is submit a priority list and select who they want to play.
“NSAA gave us the opportunity to explore out of state competition, which is how we picked up Sterling, Colorado. I’m pretty sure Sidney would like to play all C1 schools, so I am sure they weren’t happy when Scottsbluff popped up,” Benson said.
“We listed Sterling as our number one priority because the AD and I talked to each other and we agreed to play each other. North Platte was high on our priority list, and we also wanted to play Grand Island Northwest and Hastings, because those trips aren’t quite as far. We don’t want to go to York and Seward and almost Lincoln for a football game,” Hoxworth said.
This year, more out-of-state schools were brought into the equation to try and eliminate extra-long trips yet again.
“We wanted to play more games in Colorado, but it was really hard to coordinate. We had a couple of teams out there that were close but they either backed out or couldn’t make it work. It’s more difficult with out of state schools because their scheduling works different than ours but by securing one Colorado school that kept us out of a York, Seward, or a Crete game which saved us a trip,” he said.
Looking ahead next year, there’s a lot of uncertainty. However, the tradition of success is believed to be very certain.
“Next year’s team has a chance to be special if they put in the necessary time in the offseason. We have good speed,

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