High school football realignment could harm Division VI
The NHIAA recently announced that New Hampshire high school football will trim the number of divisions in the state from six to three in 2013.
Some head coaches have pointed to the positives of realignment, saying that cutting the number of divisions will restore competitive balance and improve the playoff system.
But count Newfound head coach Greg Dalzell among the non-believers.
“It may be great for the rest of the divisions, but it does not favor Division VI,” he said. “Our schools are too small.”
The schools in Division VI have the smallest enrollments in the state, averaging 500 students or less. Newfound’s enrollment is 422.
“We have a hard time fielding 30 players and that’s freshmen right up to seniors,” Dalzell said. “This puts us up against the larger schools. We don’t have the same amount of skilled players.”
After the realignment, Newfound will face schools with higher enrollments. When the changes take effect in 2013, Newfound will play in the Lakes Region of Division III along with Franklin, Gilford, Inter-lakes/Moultonborough and Winnisquam.
Currently, Franklin (459), Winnisquam (481) and Gilford (532) are also members of Division VI. Inter-lakes/Mountonbourough plays in Division V with an enrollment of 581.
But Newfound and the other Division VI schools will also have to play the other other members of their division. During the regular season, each team will play every member of its conference and every member of one other conferences in the division.
That means Newfound will face schools like Stevens (659) and Pelham (623).
“I think you need to leave Division VI alone,” he said. “By ourselves, we are very competitive. All the teams, save a couple, are competitive with each other. We very much like our little division.”