MARYLAND (WDVM) – On September 24, the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association (MPSSAA) will vote on a proposal to allow 182 schools to participate in the high school football playoffs.
A proposal that received mixed reactions from the state’s high school football landscape.
“What you do is kind of meet things in the middle.” Smithsburg head coach Vince Ahearn said. “And they squeeze him down, squeezing him a bit.”
“I just don’t see the need to disperse even more when crowning the champions of state. We basically dilute the champions of the state, that’s what we do. said head coach John Kelley of Quince Orchard.
“We just want to make the playoffs, we really don’t care about the number of classifications.” said Rick Conner, head football coach of Linganore.
Currently, there are four classifications for schools in Maryland; 4A, 3A, 2A and 1A. The larger schools are 4A schools and the smaller schools are 1A schools. Under this new proposal, two more classifications would be created by merging smaller 4A schools, with larger 3A schools, and smaller 2A schools with larger 1A schools to create 4A-3A and 2A-1A.
“I’m all for solving any problem the administration has to do to give these kids a full season.” Damascus head football coach Josh Klotz said.
The proposal was initially introduced by the executive committee of the MPSSAA, to offset the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. A handful of games have already been affected by the continuing effects of the pandemic, which would otherwise have hurt the teams involved, due to the existing complex points system that is being used to determine qualifying for the playoffs at this time.
Despite the good faith of the proposal, details of how the regions would be divided and how that would affect the standings have yet to be shared with the coaches.
“I actually didn’t see anything sent to me.” said Josh Klotz, “So I don’t – I can’t really say. I don’t know what regions would look like, I don’t know if there are byes. So we have a lot of questions at this point. could see it working, but i dont know the details.
“Everyone’s regular season schedule is already set, we’re in good shape there. Said Mike Neismith, MPSSAA Football Committee District 2 Representative and Paint Branch Head Football Coach. “We just need to figure out who’s going to be in which region, and go from there in terms of playoff scouting.”
District 2 represents Montgomery County and, according to Neismith, District 2 voted against the proposal. The vote among all districts ruled in favor of the proposal, 6-3. Oakdale head football coach Kurt Stein is the District 1 chairman of the football committee, and he has confirmed that District 1 voted for the proposal. District 1 represents the counties of Washington, Frederick, Carroll and Garrett.
Stein and Neismith both confirmed that for coaches in favor of the proposal, there were reservations that the decision would become permanent.
“What they are saying is that the vote is only for this year.” Stein said, “So we don’t know if it’s going to be a permanent thing or not. “
“One of the peculiarities of football is that it won the playoffs. They made it bigger and doubled it recently. And not everyone has made it,” said Mike Neismith, stressing the last time the MPSSAA changed the way high school football was structured.
In 2019, the executive committee voted to shorten the regular season by one week, extend the playoffs and allow more teams to advance to the playoffs.
And despite another decision to come, that doesn’t change the way teams approach their seasons and their state title hunt.
“Either way, you have to try to find a way to win five playoff games, so it will be the same.” Stein said.
The full broadcast story will be released after the 10 p.m. show.