Plans to combine schools from the Northwest and Cascade conferences into two district-wide, single-classification leagues for football appear to have hit a “road block,” according to Sehome athletic director Colin Cushman.
Burlington-Edison athletic director Donald Beazizo sent out a league-wide email on Wednesday, Jan. 27, informing NWC schools that their Cascade counterparts voted to reject plans to form a 12-team football-only league for the Class 2A schools in the Northwest District and an eight-team league for the Class 1A schools.
“It’s super disappointing,” Cushman said. “I think our entire conference is bummed about it.”
Cushman said the seven remaining 2A schools in the NWC — Anacortes, Bellingham, Blaine, Burlington-Edison, Lynden, Sedro-Woolley and Sehome — plan to meet on Thursday, Feb. 4, to discuss where the league goes. He said some possibilities include using a similar format to what the league has employed the past 10 seasons and exploring if other schools — perhaps remaining Wesco 2A Mountlake Terrace — want to join them.
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The Cascade’s decision also impacts the NWC’s four 1A schools — Lynden Christian, Meridian, Mount Baker and Nooksack Valley, which thought they had finalized plans to join the Cascade Conference’s Bothell Cedar Park Christian, King’s, South Whidbey and Sultan to form a district-wide 1A league. Those plans also had to be scrapped, Nooksack Valley athletic director Tom Harmon said.
Plan B for the four NWC 1A schools, Harmon said, is to continue playing each other twice a season, as they’ve done the past two years.
While Cushman said the NWC’s 2A schools were “starting over at square one,” Squalicum athletic director Patrick Brown said his school and Ferndale still are moving forward with plans to join the 3A Wesco League for football only.
Rather than playing an NWC schedule, as Ferndale has done in recent years, the Golden Eagles and Storm, which will move up to Class 3A next fall, will play a full Wesco schedule, giving each an opportunity to earn the right to play for a district title.