Colquitt County football coach Rush Propst is trying to organize a pair of postseason games for 2016 to help determine a national high school champion.
Under a plan outlined Tuesday on a conference call with reporters, Propst suggested proposed two postseason games would be played based on the recommendations from a committee of eight retired coaches who have won state titles and representatives from the major media outlets that do rankings.
Propst said No. 1 would play No. 2 and No. 3 would play No. 4 in games on the third Saturday in December.
“If it’s played on the field, to me, then I think there’s a true national championship being decided, and I think it’s extremely important,” said Propst. “The kids want it; most of the fan bases want it. It’s bragging rights, and I feel like it’s very important. … I just believe a true national championship can be decided relatively easier if you brought these four teams to one venue. No question.”
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The obvious hurdle would be gaining the participation of schools that are from states such as Texas, California and Nevada among others that don’t allow schools to play beyond the state championship.
“You know what’s going to turn the tide, don’t you?” said Propst. “It’s going to be money. “When the state association can get a $50,000-$75,000 check just to give permission to host a game, and then each school would receive about $75,000 plus your expenses paid for, it’s going to be hard for any superintendent, principal, AD or a state association director to say no to that kind of money.”
Propst pushed for marketing companies to start organizing sponsors now in hopes of raising $1 million for the event, because he believes the games would eventually become more popular than some college bowls in terms of TV ratings.
“People enjoy the competition between four true great high school teams,” said Propst, who conceded it may take until 2017 to coordinate. “If you had those four, I’m telling you, you’d blow the viewership out of the water.”
In rankings released this week, Bishop Gorman (Nevada), Colquitt County (Moultrie, Ga.) and Katy (Texas) were among the schools named No. 1 by various outlets. Bishop Gorman repeated as the Super 25 champion. Under Probst’s proposed plan — a title game between the two top-ranked teams as well as a 3-4 matchup — he would have included California De La Salle (Concord, Calif.) in the mix as well.
“Do I think we’re the best football team in America today? Yes,” said Propst. “I think we are. I think we proved it on the field. I think we did everything noticeable.”
Colquitt, which finished second in the Super 25, had been in discussions to potentially play Bishop Gorman in mid-December in a de facto national championship game. When the Nevada state association declined to allow Gorman to participate, Colquitt and IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.) were in talks for a game. IMG finished No. 4 in the Super 25 rankings.
“They tried to get something together like that this year, but it didn’t happen,” Bishop Gorman coach Kenny Sanchez said. “If you don’t have Texas and California in the top four (teams), you’re still going to have an argument. Would it be fun? Yeah, it would be great. The one difference between us and college football is we actually already play more games and California and Texas already finish so late as it is. But, as Rush said, money does talk. If you got a big enough sponsor, it could happen.”
The Burger King State Champions Series last December in Florida had three games, with state champs from Florida taking on teams from Washington and Utah. The series, organized by Paragon, was not continued for a second year.
“It was good last year,” Propst said. “I watched them. … Everyone against Florida doesn’t have the draw. We need to get more states and have a plan.”