LARNED — The Kansas State High School Activities Association released their classification and enrollment assignments this past week.
We now will crown eight champions in high school sports. Is that too many? I think so. In attempting to put more balance in Class 4A by dividing it into two divisions the KSHSAA has, instead, made the 3A classification now the toughest to garner a trophy.
In 3A for football, 64 schools will compete for the championship. 6A, 5A and the two divisions of 4A will each have 32. 2-1A will have 40 and Eight-Man Division-I and D-II will each have 50. Maybe we should just pass out ribbons and trophies for everyone!
One of the notable changes in 4A is that Andover-Central, Shawnee Mission-Bishop Miege and Hays will compete in 4A D-I. I am sure the folks in Ulysses are probably celebrating that because undoubtedly Hays will be one of the district opponents for Ulysses, thus cutting drastically the distance their team will have to travel for at least one of their games.
Previously, the closest opponent in D-l for the Tigers would have been Buhler and McPherson. Competing with Hays in football will not be intimidating for Ulysses. They regularly schedule, and beat, Liberal, Garden City and Great Bend.
No changes for Great Bend as they remain one of the 32 5A schools. Larned drops to D-II of 4A and Hoisington remains in the tough 3A. Ellinwood drops to Eight-Man D-I.
There is no argument that it was time for some changes but creating two divisions of 4A was not the best fix. Yes, 4A had a huge disparity in enrollment sizes but so do other classes. One has to look no further than 5A which has enrollments ranging from 737 to 1,336. That is actually a bigger discrepancy than previously existed in 4A.
Great Bend’s enrollment of 958 hits midway.
As in all things political, compromise is the key word here. Sometimes something arrived at through compromise pleases nobody.
WAC ACTION — The Dodge City Red Demons come calling on Friday evening. They are 2-1 vs. the Wichita City League and down one in the WAC standings following the loss to Liberal. It is hard to get a handle on just how good this team is. Demons head coach Dave Foster’s team is not unlike the Panthers in that they are relying on a lot of newcomers as they return only four offensive starters from 2012.
Looking to avenge last years’ 24-7 home-field loss, the Red Demons will probably look to air out the football due to the Panthers’ rapidly improving run defense. Offensively the Panthers are finding their groove, rolling for 366 yards against Wichita North. This will be a dandy, but I like the Panthers 30-24 with the home-field advantage tipping the scales.
CHALK TALK — The Bye week last weekend was better for our football-playing universities. This week they both lose. Oklahoma State 38, Kansas State 24 and Texas Tech nips a gallant effort by the Jayhawks 27-24 — If I agreed with you, we’d both be wrong! ... Ex-KU head football coach Mark Mangino is assistant head coach at Youngstown State, his alma mater. Do you Jayhawk fans miss him yet? ... Can the KC Chiefs really get to 5-0? Did man walk on the moon? Sure they can. KC 28, Titans 17 ... SHAZAM! They’ve already started practices for the college basketball season! Can you dribble with one hand and punt with the opposite foot? ... Some people find fault like there was a reward for it!
Charles Tabler is a contributing writer from Larned