It looks like two Door County schools will be making the switch to 8-player football next year.
The result of their switch leaves an area conference looking at realignment options.
The Gibraltar school board unanimously approved a proposal on Dec. 10 to send an application to the WIAA to begin 8-player football in 2013. Meanwhile, Sevastopol got a similar response from community members during a meeting on Dec. 13 discussing the same move.
The Sevastopol school board will take a vote Thursday to send its application to the WIAA, which reinstated an 8-player option for schools with a three-year enrollment average of 200 or fewer last season. The deadline for applications for 2013 is Feb. 1.
Both programs had to cancel their junior varsity seasons this year. Gibraltar had 24 players out for football and an enrollment of 205, and Sevastopol had 25 out and an enrollment of 173.
There were 16 teams who made the switch to 8-player last season, including N.E.W. Lutheran after playing two seasons in the Olympian/Packerland-Small Conference as a varsity 11-player program.
With Gibraltar and Sevastopol going that route, the O/P-Small is left with five teams: Algoma, Hilbert, Manitowoc Lutheran, Reedsville and St. Mary Central.
“We don’t know what’s going to happen for sure with the Olympian/Packerland-Small,” Algoma coach Wade Vandervest said. “There’s talk that a couple of the teams from the (OP-Large) might have to drop down.”
The Olympian and Packerland combined and split into two conferences for football based on enrollment in 2007. The O/P-Large has 10 teams, with enrollments ranging from 461 to 292 this year.
The two smallest were Oconto (292) and Mishicot (289). Hilbert (188) has the lowest enrollment and St. Mary Central (239) had the largest among the remaining teams in the O/P-Small, whose teams played a cross-conference game with the Central Lakeshore in 2012 to make up for the loss of N.E.W. Lutheran.
The Central Lakeshore features five teams, including four in Sheboygan County with enrollments ranging from 249 to 342.
“There’s some discussion about the option of combining the (O/P-Small), (O/P-Large), Central Lakeshore into one big conference and splitting it into two like we did with the Olympian and Packerland a few years ago,” Vandervest said.
Nothing is set in stone on what will be done, but plans are to move forward sooner rather than later with different options.