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Area's nine-man football ranks to see shake-up for classes

The area's nine-man high school football scene will see a shakeup in 2019 and 2020, as the South Dakota High School Activities Association proposed alignments were announced Thursday.

Those changes are set to be approved by the SDHSAA Board of Directors on first reading on Feb. 27, and finalized fully in April to set the regions and classes for the 2019-20 and 2020-21 school years.

In Class 9AA football, Hanson and Platte-Geddes, both previously in Class 9A, will climb up a class for football. They will join Bon Homme, Menno/Marion and Parkston in Region 3 in that classification.

The Class 9A ranks are highlighted by Gregory and Kimball/White Lake preparing to move down from Class 9AA. The schools will be joined by Burke and Gayville-Volin — both going up to 9A — along with Lyman and Tripp-Delmont/Armour/Andes Central/Dakota Christian in Region 3. Also in Class 9A is Canistota/Freeman and Howard, both in Region 2.

Class 9B will include Avon, Colome, Corsica-Stickney, Irene-Wakonda and Scotland, all in the same Region 3. Corsica-Stickney was previously in Class 9A, while Irene-Wakonda drops two classes from Class 9AA. Also on the move is Wolsey-Wessington, down two divisions from Class 9AA to 9B and slotted for Region 1.

Overall, 126 teams are in line to play SDHSAA football in 2019, down from the 136 teams in 2018. Most of those teams are in line to join the All Nations Conference, a Native American-focused football league that will have its schools play nine-man football but will no longer compete for the SDHSAA football playoffs.

Of the SDHSAA's 126 teams, 68 are slated to play nine-man football, while 58 are bound for 11-man football. Earlier this year, the SDHSAA announced it would not go forward with six-man football in 2019 as previously planned, citing too few schools ready to participate in that format.

The 11-man ranks will see fewer changes around the area. Bridgewater-Emery/Ethan, Chamberlain, Mount Vernon/Plankinton, Wagner and Woonsocket/Wessington Springs/Sanborn Central all remain in Region 3, while McCook Central/Montrose moves to Region 2. That makes room for newly 11-man Miller/Highmore-Harrold. Winner remains in Region 4 with the rest of Class 11B's West River teams, which includes St. Thomas More dropping from Class 11A.

In Class 11AA, just eight schools are expected to compete for the class' state title, as Harrisburg moves up to Class 11AAA, putting 10 teams in the state's largest football class.

Bon Homme, Platte-Geddes to move down to Class B

Outside of football, Bon Homme and Platte-Geddes will be the biggest area movers, going from Class A down to Class B. The move covers basketball, volleyball, cross country and track and field.

Platte-Geddes moved up to Class A two years ago in the most recent reclassification period, but both the Cavaliers' and Black Panthers' average daily membership enrollment total dropped below 90, which is the threshold to be in Class A in the three-class system used for most sports.

The two schools will be in Region 6B along with Andes Central/Dakota Christian, Avon, Burke, Colome, Corsica-Stickney, Gregory, Kimball/White Lake, Marty and Tripp-Delmont/Armour.

Scotland will slide from Region 6B to Region 5B and be paired with area foes Bridgewater-Emery, Canistota, Freeman, Freeman Academy/Marion and Menno.

In Class A, the departure of Bon Homme and Platte-Geddes required a balancing of the number of schools in each region. That means Madison is set to move from Region 2A to Region 5A. The Bulldogs will be in the same region as McCook Central/Montrose, Mount Vernon/Plankinton, Parker, Parkston and Wagner.

Around the rest of the state, Clark/Willow Lake and Florence-Henry are moving up from Class B to Class A, sliding into Region 2A.

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