LOWER TOWAMENSING TOWNSHIP Two high school football conferences, consisting of 28 different schools, announced a major scheduling merger on Thursday, set to take effect in 2020.
Football's popularity has grown so much, it's become a year-round sport to many. In that news conference, the Colonial and Schuylkill Leagues announced a football scheduling cooperative plan, which will pit teams of similar sizes against one another and make scheduling for those schools easier than before.
Inside the Vista Ballroom at Blue Mountain Ski Resort near Palmerton, two helmets took center stage, but this wasn't a part of some lead-up to a championship contest
"It's a win for everybody," said Pottsville athletic director Eric Rismiller.
"The best thing about this is it's going to breed a new excitement," added Northwestern Lehigh athletic director Jason Zimmerman.
The Schuylkill and Colonial Leagues announcing that the two leagues are joining forces for a new football scheduling cooperative.
"It's going to be exciting for the communities, all the communities. Spectators will be watching really good football," said Tamaqua athletic director Mike Hromyak.
This scheduling co-op will take effect in 2020, affecting 28 different schools, divided into four divisions based on class size.
"44 percent of our games between big schools and small schools were blowouts. That there told us that we needed to make a change," said Northern Lehigh athletic director Bryan Geist.
The two leagues came together for this merger to try to equal the playing field.
Schools of similar sizes will now square off against one another. District 11 playoff implications will be decided between the lines and not by a formula.
Regional rivalries will either be renewed, remain intact, or new rivalries will be formed and have fans excited.
"I think that's a great idea. I think the competition in the area will be very good. I think it's a good thing for the Carbon and Schuylkill Leagues," said Joseph Nalesnik of Jim Thorpe.
"I think it would be very enlightening to find out just how good each league is," said Robert Trettel of Slatington.
"Football in the area, it brings a lot of rivalries back. It also brings big crowds, excitement, and just a lot of fun in our coal region area," said Nativity BVM athletic director Josh Muldowney.