While there have been some good stories in the first half of the scholastic football season — such as 5-0 starts by Downingtown East and Unionville — along with the awesome offensive output of the Coatesville Red Raiders, I still think there is one idea looming over the first month of the year.
It is time for the Ches-Mont League and District 1 to reconsider the district scheduling plan that, unfortunately, went down in flames last year.
The competitive balance is no longer there in the Ches-Mont League. I know these things are cyclical, but the disparity between the 6A schools and the 5A schools is only getting larger. No one wants these games anymore as the league has become too predictable, with mercy rule games now the norm, not the exception.
The Ches-Mont 6A schools — the Downingtowns, Coatesville and Avon Grove — should be in a new league with Spring-Ford, Owen J. Roberts, Perkiomen Valley and Boyertown, as the original proposal had in place. It just is simply reality of the times and the numbers. You would then have all Class 6A schools playing each other, while grouping the remaining Ches-Mont League schools — all Class 5A — together.
This would elimate the blowouts against 5A schools that do not have the numbers to compete on a regular basis with the 6A powers. It also would take care of the problem that the Ches-Mont League 6A schools face in that they play mostly 5A schools and do not accumulate power points at the same rate as Suburban One League schools, putting the Ches-Mont teams on the road many times in the district playoffs.
And like it or not, the playoffs are the only thing that matters to the players and coaches now. It is great to get misty eyed about long-ago rivalries and Thanksgiving Day football, but those days are not coming back because the playoffs have effectively killed that part of the football season.
And this year in the Ches-Mont League is really going to penalize the 6A schools because some of the 5A schools will not have many wins, costing schools like Coatesville and Downingtown East precious power points. No one wants these games anymore. They just do not make any sense. Teams should play teams with similar enrollments and anyone who argues that point is off-base.
Big school coaches talk all the time about not wanting to play 5A schools for that very reason. And 5A coaches would rather not play the 6A schools, because it is almost a guaranteed loss. The Ches-Mont League has a very fine group of 5A schools that could form a very competitive and entertaining group.
No longer can the West Chester schools play the big boys. A three-school district is really up against it when it comes to playing Coatesville or the Downingtowns in football. The games benefit no one except some kids who can make their numbers look better. And I do not want to hear the argument that this is just a down year. Over a period of time the numbers tell the story. Think North Penn.
There may be better ideas out there, but one thing I do know is that the Ches-Mont League has become too predictable, and the lack of attendance at most games would bear that out. If you do not want to go to district scheduling, then maybe realign the league every two or three years, or possibly entice Owen J. Roberts and Spring-Ford, two Chester County schools, to come into the league. The Suburban One League changes things up, but we keep going with what does not work in the Ches-Mont League.
It may not be a popular take, but the Ches-Mont League is not a good product right now, and something needs to be done. District scheduling may not have been perfect, but when Coatesville’s only worry in most of their league games is how to keep the score down, then the league is truly in trouble.
It is time someone steps up and fixes it for the kids sake and the sake of the league.
Peter DiGiovanni covers high school football for the Daily Local News and PaPrepLive.com. Follow him on Twitter @PeteDLN.