Lafayette Jeff athletics are rarely associated with being the smallest school in any scenario.
Broncho football will begin that experience next fall as the smallest school in the first Class 6A state tournament. But regardless of Lafayette Jeff’s place in line, coach Andy Kennedy thinks a new tournament road could be a spark for his players.
“I think it’s exciting to get a new sectional,” Kennedy said. “We know no matter where we get sent, we’re playing a team that will be new. In football, when you only have 10 games, as a coach, you want a chance to play that 10th different team.”
The IHSAA released classifications for the 2013-14 and 2014-15 school years on Tuesday. Some could still change depending on how the new tournament success factor, which bumps teams up one class based on state tournament advancement, affects boys basketball, baseball and softball.
Sectional assignments will not be approved by the IHSAA until later this spring.
Lafayette Jeff, for decades one of the largest schools in the state, fell to 32nd in the enrollment numbers the IHSAA used to determine the upcoming classification cycle. That was the cutoff point for football’s new 6A, which the IHSAA approved last spring.
Harrison and McCutcheon will both remain in 5A, which will have 34 teams. The other four football classes each have 64 schools.
Four other local football programs will move to a different class for at least the next two seasons.
Southmont, a longtime Class 3A competitor, drops to 2A. The Mounties are joined there by four-time defending Class A state champion Central Catholic, which bumps up due to the tradition factor. Fountain Central and Seeger, which had both recently risen to 2A, now drop back to Class A.
West Lafayette boys soccer competed in Class A during the first two seasons in which that sport’s state tournament used enrollment classifications. Now, the Red Devils will be one of the smallest programs in 2A.
However, because Brebeuf and Guerin’s girls soccer programs volunteered to play in the larger class, West Lafayette’s girls remain as Class A’s largest school.
Rensselaer and Southmont both drop from 3A to 2A in four-class team sports. Similarly, Carroll drops back to Class A for all four-class sports.
Benton Central is listed as the second-smallest Class 3A school in the four-class sports. Some Bison sports could drop down if enough current 2A programs are affected by the tradition factor.