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How we fix Northern 6A football


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We have had several threads discussing the challenges northern 6A schools face when encountering their generally larger and better funded southern big school counterparts.

So the north has a decision to make.  Do we accept our status as second class citizens and just cede the 6A tournament to the south?

Or do we develop a game plan that puts our best and brightest 6A northern schools on a path that gives them a fighting chance to balance the competitive scale between big school northern and southern Indiana football?

Id like to see the northern big schools go all in.  Here is the plan on how to make it all happen :

1. Conference Realignment

We have suggested that the big SAC schools break away and start a new conference with Penn, Elkhart and Warsaw.  Northrup, Snider , Dwenger, Homestead and Carroll will join the aforementioned 3, creating the new Upstate 8 Conference.  This conference immediately becomes a challenger to The HCC as second best in the state behind The MIC.

2. Upgrade Non Conference Matchups

The U8 will open the season with a full 8 game slate against the DAC, putting the season opening focus on northern Indiana football.  Each conference will host 4 games on opening night.  Saturday games will be encouraged to allow for travel.  Nuetral site matchups will also be encouraged to reduce travel.  

Week 2 will be reserved for the preservation of long standing non con local rivalries, such as CP-Lowell and Merrillville - Andrean.  The U8 and The DAC will both reach out to Central Indiana public and private power schools to schedule games for this week.  We ant to see schools like Carmel, Center Grove, Ben Davis, Warren, Cathedral and Roncalli traveling to The Region and The Fort on a regualr basis.  Home and home contracts will be negotiated and encouraged.

3. Northern staffs must be on equal footing with Southern staffs

6A is not to be used as a proving ground for unproven assistants who have yet to win a varsity game.  DAC and U8 schools are encouraged to hire experienced, winning coaches with proven history of success at this level.  Schools need to invest in additional position coaches and coordinators to meet the financial and people committments that the southern schools have already made.  Big coaching hires, as the one made at Crown Point, will close the gap quicker 

4. Strength and Conditioning

The southern schools are generally bigger, stronger and faster than are those in the north.  This is a huge challenge to overcome for northern staffs.  Whatever weight and speed training northern schools are currently doing, its not enough.  Additional investments must be made in this area to close the competitive gap.

5. Football and Track

Center Grove is the model for the 21st Century High School Football Program in Indiana, and for the country as well.  The connection between the football and track programs is huge.  Northern staffs should look for ways to strengthen their relationship with their respective track programs.  Having one HC run both programs is a clear winning formula at CG.

 

 

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Don't want to take away from the title on this thread, but the SAC having schools in multiple classes played a large role in these numbers.   What is the SAC's record in the state finals in 5A/6A

Have you ever watched a game film of the HCC... The line play is extremely good, and except for this past year, the defenses in the conference are very good.  How can you say the HCC is soft...  you c

That guy needs to read more books and attend more clinics.

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37 minutes ago, DT said:

5. Football and Track

Center Grove is the model for the 21st Century High School Football Program in Indiana, and for the country as well.  The connection between the football and track programs is huge.  Northern staffs should look for ways to strengthen their relationship with their respective track programs.  Having one HC run both programs is a clear winning formula at CG.

 

 

As a coach who is an assistant for football and HC for track, this is a very underrated advantage for a program. M'ville is a northern school that I know has a strong connection with their two programs and that is beginning to show on the field. 

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So, are all Conference alignment decisions based on football, or do we restructure for each sport? Getting back to reality, when talking of the current structure of the NE8, keep in mind this Conference was formed because certain (if not all) of the schools in the Conference no longer wanted to align with Carroll and Homestead. Going bigger isnt always better. Just like in Business. Find your sweet spot and only grow if you can scale the growth. For instance, one could certainly argue Pike's athletic program was far better in Conference Indiana. 

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5. Football and Track

Center Grove is the model for the 21st Century High School Football Program in Indiana, and for the country as well.  The connection between the football and track programs is huge.  Northern staffs should look for ways to strengthen their relationship with their respective track programs.  Having one HC run both programs is a clear winning formula at CG.


Spot on here DT....I will add most of the athletic skill kids in the Indy area do not consider track anymore since 7 on 7 has become the must thing to do.  The bigger school track teams will sprinkle in weekend travel meets which will conflict with the 7 on 7 travel schedule.  Back in the day the lineman threw the shot/disk and skilled kids ran sprints....those days are on life support.

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41 minutes ago, Boilernation said:

So, are all Conference alignment decisions based on football, or do we restructure for each sport? Getting back to reality, when talking of the current structure of the NE8, keep in mind this Conference was formed because certain (if not all) of the schools in the Conference no longer wanted to align with Carroll and Homestead. Going bigger isnt always better. Just like in Business. Find your sweet spot and only grow if you can scale the growth. For instance, one could certainly argue Pike's athletic program was far better in Conference Indiana. 

This has nothing to do with the NE8

A football only Upstate 8 would be fine if that's what they want.   

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2 hours ago, DT said:

We have had several threads discussing the challenges northern 6A schools face when encountering their generally larger and better funded southern big school counterparts.

So the north has a decision to make.  Do we accept our status as second class citizens and just cede the 6A tournament to the south?

Or do we develop a game plan that puts our best and brightest 6A northern schools on a path that gives them a fighting chance to balance the competitive scale between big school northern and southern Indiana football?

Id like to see the northern big schools go all in.  Here is the plan on how to make it all happen :

1. Conference Realignment

We have suggested that the big SAC schools break away and start a new conference with Penn, Elkhart and Warsaw.  Northrup, Snider , Dwenger, Homestead and Carroll will join the aforementioned 3, creating the new Upstate 8 Conference.  This conference immediately becomes a challenger to The HCC as second best in the state behind The MIC.

2. Upgrade Non Conference Matchups

The U8 will open the season with a full 8 game slate against the DAC, putting the season opening focus on northern Indiana football.  Each conference will host 4 games on opening night.  Saturday games will be encouraged to allow for travel.  Nuetral site matchups will also be encouraged to reduce travel.  

Week 2 will be reserved for the preservation of long standing non con local rivalries, such as CP-Lowell and Merrillville - Andrean.  The U8 and The DAC will both reach out to Central Indiana public and private power schools to schedule games for this week.  We ant to see schools like Carmel, Center Grove, Ben Davis, Warren, Cathedral and Roncalli traveling to The Region and The Fort on a regualr basis.  Home and home contracts will be negotiated and encouraged.

3. Northern staffs must be on equal footing with Southern staffs

6A is not to be used as a proving ground for unproven assistants who have yet to win a varsity game.  DAC and U8 schools are encouraged to hire experienced, winning coaches with proven history of success at this level.  Schools need to invest in additional position coaches and coordinators to meet the financial and people committments that the southern schools have already made.  Big coaching hires, as the one made at Crown Point, will close the gap quicker 

4. Strength and Conditioning

The southern schools are generally bigger, stronger and faster than are those in the north.  This is a huge challenge to overcome for northern staffs.  Whatever weight and speed training northern schools are currently doing, its not enough.  Additional investments must be made in this area to close the competitive gap.

5. Football and Track

Center Grove is the model for the 21st Century High School Football Program in Indiana, and for the country as well.  The connection between the football and track programs is huge.  Northern staffs should look for ways to strengthen their relationship with their respective track programs.  Having one HC run both programs is a clear winning formula at CG.

 

 

Do we accept our status as second class citizens and just cede the 6A tournament to the south? Is it actually the south or just Indianapolis? 

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23 minutes ago, DT said:

This has nothing to do with the NE8

A football only Upstate 8 would be fine if that's what they want.   

I don't think the AD's woud be thrilled about having their teams in different conferences. I was referring to the NE8 because you had mentioned Leo and East Noble in a previous thread in regards to them joining up with some of the SAC. I skimmed through your post and didn't notice their exclusion. My mistake. Regardless, Penn and Elkhart to the Duneland makes far more sense than them to Fort Wayne. I-80 makes it a smooth trip for all involved. Any benefit of Penn/Elkhart being on the same timezone as Fort Wayne is out the window when they spend 45 minutes minimum of weaving through Amish Country just to hit US 30. Then it's another hour minimum just to hit I-69. They could just save time 30 minutes into the trip and round up all Yoder's in the area of Nappnee and play at NorthWood.

Penn would be in the Duneland now if Elhart Central was offered membership a while ago. Timezone differences withstanding, I believe  the real alignment you'll see is Penn and Elkhart, MAYBE New Prairie, joining the Duneland. Penn already has regular season matchups with most of the Duneland in all sports. 

 

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23 minutes ago, SportsParentalFigure said:

Do we accept our status as second class citizens and just cede the 6A tournament to the south? Is it actually the south or just Indianapolis? 

They are one and the same

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20 minutes ago, SportsParentalFigure said:

Do we accept our status as second class citizens and just cede the 6A tournament to the south? Is it actually the south or just Indianapolis? 

If you look at 2019-2020 classifications, Columbus East is the only 6A school "south" of Indianapolis.  (Center Grove and other metro schools are being considered Indianapolis.  )  Jeffersonville would pop up to 6A if CE was in their enrollment class.

Every 6A title has been won by an Indy school.

Have to go to 2000 (Penn) to find a 5A not won by an Indy school.

So I think it is just Indy.

 

 

Just now, fenderbender said:

If you look at 2019-2020 classifications, Columbus East is the only 6A school "south" of Indianapolis.  (Center Grove and other metro schools are being considered Indianapolis.  )  Jeffersonville would pop up to 6A if CE was in their enrollment class.

Every 6A title has been won by an Indy school.

Have to go to 2000 (Penn) to find a 5A not won by an Indy school.

So I think it is just Indy.

 

 

And to be clear, I meant when 5A was the biggest school class.

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18 minutes ago, fenderbender said:

If you look at 2019-2020 classifications, Columbus East is the only 6A school "south" of Indianapolis.  (Center Grove and other metro schools are being considered Indianapolis.  )  Jeffersonville would pop up to 6A if CE was in their enrollment class.

Every 6A title has been won by an Indy school.

Have to go to 2000 (Penn) to find a 5A not won by an Indy school.

So I think it is just Indy.

 

You are right, FB....It is just Indy...where the most affluent and largest schools exist.

More power to 'em

Its the private school- public school debate.

There's a reason Bishop Chatard has won 15 state titles and 100 other public 3A or 4A schools have none.

 

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2 hours ago, DT said:

1. Conference Realignment

We have suggested that the big SAC schools break away and start a new conference with Penn, Elkhart and Warsaw.  Northrup, Snider , Dwenger, Homestead and Carroll will join the aforementioned 3, creating the new Upstate 8 Conference.  This conference immediately becomes a challenger to The HCC as second best in the state behind The MIC.

 

 

 

Just my two cents...

This alignment would be a travel nightmare. Have you ever driven from the Fort Wayne area to Mishawaka or Elkhart? Would not be much fun on a bus. Warsaw wouldn't be that bad. Games would have to start later. Saturday is an option, but most of these schools have solid teams in other sports that typically compete on Saturday in the fall. AD's would not want to pull possible fans away from those games. 

And I would argue that the SAC is already the second best conference behind MIC. I'm using state finals appearances as my barometer. 

Since 1994 All Classes...

SAC - 27 state finals appearances     14-13 overall record (Including now defucnt FW Harding)         HCC - 8 state finals appearances    3-5 overall record

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11 minutes ago, Bear54 said:

Just my two cents...

This alignment would be a travel nightmare. Have you ever driven from the Fort Wayne area to Mishawaka or Elkhart? Would not be much fun on a bus. Warsaw wouldn't be that bad. Games would have to start later. Saturday is an option, but most of these schools have solid teams in other sports that typically compete on Saturday in the fall. AD's would not want to pull possible fans away from those games. 

And I would argue that the SAC is already the second best conference behind MIC. I'm using state finals appearances as my barometer. 

Since 1994 All Classes...

SAC - 27 state finals appearances     14-13 overall record (Including now defucnt FW Harding)         HCC - 8 state finals appearances    3-5 overall record

Consider our original premise.   How do we get the 6a northern schools up to championship level?

Does your suggestion of holding pat get the job done?

Does looking at history of small school championships help the. Big schools in any way?

 

 

 

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21 minutes ago, Bear54 said:

Just my two cents...

This alignment would be a travel nightmare. Have you ever driven from the Fort Wayne area to Mishawaka or Elkhart? Would not be much fun on a bus. Warsaw wouldn't be that bad. Games would have to start later. Saturday is an option, but most of these schools have solid teams in other sports that typically compete on Saturday in the fall. AD's would not want to pull possible fans away from those games. 

And I would argue that the SAC is already the second best conference behind MIC. I'm using state finals appearances as my barometer. 

Since 1994 All Classes...

SAC - 27 state finals appearances     14-13 overall record (Including now defucnt FW Harding)         HCC - 8 state finals appearances    3-5 overall record

Do you honestly think that the SAC is better than the HCC? I don’t think theres much of an argument. The HCC has been better from top to bottom as well as when you compare the best teams from each conference. Just look at last year SAC’s top 2 teams in Homestead and Dwenger during tournament play. Homestead got destroyed by Westfield and Dwenger lost to a Zionsville team that finished 3-4 in the HCC.

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11 minutes ago, Bears62 said:

Do you honestly think that the SAC is better than the HCC? I don’t think theres much of an argument. The HCC has been better from top to bottom as well as when you compare the best teams from each conference. Just look at last year SAC’s top 2 teams in Homestead and Dwenger during tournament play. Homestead got destroyed by Westfield and Dwenger lost to a Zionsville team that finished 3-4 in the HCC.

SAC envy?

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46 minutes ago, oldunclemark said:

You are right, FB....It is just Indy...where the most affluent and largest schools exist.

More power to 'em

Its the private school- public school debate.

There's a reason Bishop Chatard has won 15 state titles and 100 other public 3A or 4A schools have none.

 

Not solely affluency as enrollment advantages also play a large role in Indy's success.

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43 minutes ago, Bear54 said:

Just my two cents...

This alignment would be a travel nightmare. Have you ever driven from the Fort Wayne area to Mishawaka or Elkhart? Would not be much fun on a bus. Warsaw wouldn't be that bad. Games would have to start later. Saturday is an option, but most of these schools have solid teams in other sports that typically compete on Saturday in the fall. AD's would not want to pull possible fans away from those games. 

And I would argue that the SAC is already the second best conference behind MIC. I'm using state finals appearances as my barometer. 

Since 1994 All Classes...

SAC - 27 state finals appearances     14-13 overall record (Including now defucnt FW Harding)         HCC - 8 state finals appearances    3-5 overall record

Don't want to take away from the title on this thread, but the SAC having schools in multiple classes played a large role in these numbers.  

What is the SAC's record in the state finals in 5A/6A?  And why 1994?  The HCC has only been around since 2000.

Flawed/skewed data.

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1 hour ago, Bears62 said:

Who me? I want to see schools outside of Indy have success as much as anyone. But it’s pretty clear the HCC is better than the SAC. 

The HCC plays a Big 12 style of football.  There is a perception of "softness" that goes along with this style, given the over the top scoring, lack of defense and generally unrecognizable line play.   The SAC is more of a Big Ten style conference.   More focus on physical play.   Ground oriented offenses and tough defensive orientation.  While the HCC may be a notch or two above, the SACs reputation for toughness and grit help it to close the gap

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Penn and Elkhart to DAC, SAC opens schedule to non conference games. DAC, SAC schedule games with each other. DAC, SAC schedule games with HCC. Get JV games with those same opponents. There would still be a lot of work remaining for each program from that point, but I think that's the best place to start for the 5A and 6A schools in the north.

 

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11 minutes ago, PDB26 said:

Penn and Elkhart to DAC, SAC opens schedule to non conference games. DAC, SAC schedule games with each other. DAC, SAC schedule games with HCC. Get JV games with those same opponents. There would still be a lot of work remaining for each program from that point, but I think that's the best place to start for the 5A and 6A schools in the north.

 

Penn to the DAC has been discussed for 20 years.   Don't think that is happening. 

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23 minutes ago, DT said:

The HCC plays a Big 12 style of football.  There is a perception of "softness" that goes along with this style, given the over the top scoring, lack of defense and generally unrecognizable line play.   The SAC is more of a Big Ten style conference.   More focus on physical play.   Ground oriented offenses and tough defensive orientation.  While the HCC may be a notch or two above, the SACs reputation for toughness and grit help it to close the gap

Disagree. You’ll have a hard time convincing anyone that the HCC has a “lack of defense.” 2 years ago HCC bottom feeder and 1-9 Noblesville took the SAC’s top dawg and undefeated team in Homestead to overtime in sectionals. I think there is a fairly decent gap between the talent level in the SAC and the HCC. HCC has better programs and better players all across the board. Sadly there has not been many matchups between the 2 conferences in the past 5 years. But reputation doesn’t mean a darn thing, everything is settled on the field and there is enough evidence to say the HCC is superior.

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14 minutes ago, Bears62 said:

Disagree. You’ll have a hard time convincing anyone that the HCC has a “lack of defense.” 2 years ago HCC bottom feeder and 1-9 Noblesville took the SAC’s top dawg and undefeated team in Homestead to overtime in sectionals. I think there is a fairly decent gap between the talent level in the SAC and the HCC. HCC has better programs and better players all across the board. Sadly there has not been many matchups between the 2 conferences in the past 5 years. But reputation doesn’t mean a darn thing, everything is settled on the field and there is enough evidence to say the HCC is superior.

My man be careful the Noblesville defenders will be coming for you very soon.

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41 minutes ago, DT said:

Penn to the DAC has been discussed for 20 years.

No kidding. It hasn't happened yet, therefore it will not.

42 minutes ago, DT said:

Don't think that is happening. 

Not sure how Penn to SAC is any more feasible then.

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I know it will never happen, but my wish for our district to consolidate to 1, MAYBE 2 high schools. One school would definitely make it a 6A school. Combine with Carroll, Homestead, Snider, Northrop, and even Warsaw, and another?, to form a solid 6A conference. I think doing so would allow the new school to offer more opportunities in sports that none of the schools currently have. Purely wishful thinking though, as each community is holding on to some long past identity. 

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