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ESD ADs extend football invitation to Rapid City Stevens, Central

The Eastern South Dakota Conference is nearing the end of its first year of hosting nine schools, and it’s about to keep growing in one sport.

On Feb. 24, the ESD athletic directors and superintendents voted to extend an invitation to the Rapid City public high schools -- Stevens and Central -- to join the conference in football only. The Rapid City schools have verbally accepted the offer and will compete in the ESD beginning in the 2015 season.

“The conference schools felt it would solidify our conference schedule,” MHS activities director Geoff Gross said. “As a conference, we understand there are needs of nonmember schools, and we’ll help them meet those. But, we’re a part of that equation too and looking out for our interests.”

The additions will make for a 11-team conference and create two divisions. There will be a six-team 11AA division -- Mitchell, Huron, Yankton, Harrisburg, Brookings and Pierre -- and a five-team 11AAA division -- Brandon Valley, Aberdeen Central, Watertown, Rapid City Stevens and Rapid City Central.

There will be two conference champions crowned at the end of the season with one from each division. Gross said the ADs don’t think it will lessen the value of winning a conference title and added it was a “huge area of discussion” at the February meeting.

Brooke Cersosimo
Brooke Cersosimo is The Daily Republic's sports editor.