Extra Points: Brian Spano 2/28

Brian Spano

By Brian Spano PrepsKC Senior Writer
Posted: February 28, 2012 - 2:46 PM

There’s been something bugging me for quite some time that might turn several Missouri Class 5 and Class 6 coaches sideways with me after I spout off my opinion.
For the 2011 season there were only six Class 6 teams in the Kansas City area and a total of 32 in the state of Missouri. Because of this, these schools had to play down in class to fill out their schedules. On the other side of the coin, there was a glut of schools in Class 5, maxing out at 51.
If these schools are already playing each other on a regular basis, isn’t it time for MSHSAA to take a hard look at combining these classes and having just five?
Now, I know what you’re asking, aren’t the classes based on enrollment? Yes. In fact, MSHSAA states: In 11-man football, the largest 32 schools based on student enrollment in grades 9-12 are classified in Class 6, while the smallest 64 schools are assigned to Class 1. The next-largest 64 schools are then classified in Class 2, the next 64 in Class 3, and the next 64 in Class 4. The remaining schools are assigned to Class 5.
It breaks down like this:
Class                      No. of schools                   Enrollment
Class 1                   64                           97-244
Class 2                   64                           248-428
Class 3                   64                           429-717
Class 4                   64                           725-1246
Class 5                   51                           1249-1786
Class 6                   32                           1792-2979
There just seems to be too many Class 5 schools and not enough Class 6 schools given the closing gap of competition level between the two.
Let’s look at a few examples.
In 2010, the Staley Falcons went to Blue Springs to take on the perennial Class 6 powerhouse Wildcats. In a stunner, the Falcons won 27-16. Last season, the Wildcats traveled north to seek revenge against Staley. Again, the eventual Class 5 Missouri state champions took Blue Springs to the woodshed 47-25.
The Ray-Pec Panthers, a Class 6 team looking to bounce back after a down year this past season, lost its opening game the past two years to Class 5 juggernaut Lee’s Summit West.
The Fort Osage Indians have developed into one of the top Class 5 teams in the Kansas City area, finishing last season 10-1. The only Class 6 opponent for the Indians came in the first game of the season against Lee’s Summit North, a 35-6 thrashing of the Broncos.
Looking at these examples from the last couple of years and not just the parity among schools in Class 5, but the number of high-quality teams that can go out and beat really good Class 6 teams, the time has come to combine the two classes.
If enrollment is the only gauge to measure what class a school belongs in, then figure out another way. There are too many good high school football teams in the area. I know how we all love watching Blue Springs play Rockhurst right out of the gate every season, but wouldn’t it be great to see a Staley-Rockhurst game or a Lee’s Summit West-Rockhurst game? If not in the regular season, how about something more meaningful like the playoffs?