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Published: Thursday, 5/21/2009

Sidelines: Michigan looks at 8-player football for small schools

BY MARK MONROE
BLADE SPORTS WRITER

The Michigan High School Athletic Association gave initial approval on Monday to eight-player football teams for the smallest schools in the state.

The MHSAA approved a new eight-player playoff division contingent upon adequate interest from member schools.

Officials said the eight-player (per side) teams would begin play in 2010. At least 20 small schools must commit to the new format by April, 2010, before it is implemented.

The MHSAA would then conduct a 16-team, four-week playoff in 2010. If more than 40 schools commit, a 32-team, five week playoff will take place.

Only those schools within Class D with a maximum enrollment of 223 will be eligible for the eight-player division playoff.

Eight-player competitions will comply with National Federation rules and the field size will be the traditional 100 yards from goal line to goal line. But the width of the field would only be 40 yards.

John Roberts, executive director of the MHSAA, said the new format will create an opportunity for members of smaller size to offer the football experience.

The option of an eight-player division will benefit our smaller schools which have struggled to maintain sufficient numbers to sponsor football programs, Roberts said.

More football: Miller to Mount Union

St. Francis de Sales senior Tyler Miller has committed to play football for Division III powerhouse Mount Union.

Miller, a 5-foot-11, 210-pound defensive end, was named team captain his senior year. The Genoa native earned All-City League first team last fall.

Three scrimmages

The Ohio High School Athletic Association announced that football teams will be permitted to participate in three preseason contests beginning next season.

In the past, only a maximum of two scrimmages were allowed. But now a third contest, which is called a Jamboree, will be permitted. For 2009, the Jamboree can be held between Aug. 14-22.

A Jamboree is a contest played in accordance with National Federation of State High School Associations rules. It will provide teams with a game-like tune-up prior to the first official game.

NWOAL times

The kickoff for football games in the Northwest Ohio Athletic League will be moved up next fall.

All league games will start at 7 p.m.

Baseball: Wilker gets 400th

Lake baseball coach Greg Wilker earned his 400th career victory May 8 in a 6-2 win over Lakota.

Wilker, who is 404-277 in his 24th season at the helm of the Flyers program, has five league championships and 13 sectional titles.

He has had one team win a regional title to reach the state semifinals, one regional runner-up and three district champions.

City League playoffs

The field is set for the City League baseball playoffs, which will be held at Scott Park and Skeldon Stadium. This year s playoff field features four teams that have all won City championships within the last five years.

Top-seeded Clay (15-7, 10-1 CL), which was the 2007 champion, will face fourth-seeded St. John s Jesuit (18-7, 9-2) at12:30 p.m. in Monday s semifinals at Scott Park. St. John s last CL crown came in 2004.

The 3 p.m. semifinal pits defending City champion Central Catholic (10-12, 9-2), the No. 2 seed, against No. 3 seed St. Francis de Sales (15-7, 9-2), which won the 2005 and 2006 titles.

The final is scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday at SkeldonStadium.

Tennis: Districts at Port Clinton

The finals of the Division I and II district tournaments will be held on Saturday at Port Clinton.

In Division I, the top two singles and top two doubles teams will advance to the state tournament. In D-II, the top three singles and top three doubles teams qualify for state.

Two-time City League champion Ryan Jorgensen had to withdraw from the D-I sectional meet last week because of a pulled stomach muscle. Titans coach Jim Davis said Jorgensen will still compete for St. John s in the state team tournament.

Ryan is slightly hurt, Davis said. He opted to rest so that he would be ready for our regional semifinal against Lexington. So he is a man who is putting team first. I m very proud of him.

St. John s junior Devon Sbrocchi took over at No. 1 singles for Jorgensen and won the sectional.

Maumee Valley s Eyad Jaara and Ottawa Hills Evan Bechtel could square off in the D-II district singles finals. Jaara beat Bechtel for the sectional title. Both qualified for state last season.

Track and field: Bedford s best

Bedford sophomore Nick Kaiser and junior Tommy Valade have qualified for the Michigan state meet.

Kaiser finished first in the 800 meters at the Division 1 regional at Saline with a time of 1:53.18. Valade won the 3200 in 9:26.26.

Kaiser and Valade then teamed up with Chad Machinski and Derek Hibbs to place second in the 3200 relay, advancing to the state meet with a time of 8:02.02.

The Mules finished seventh as a team at the regional. The D-1 state meet will be May 30 at East Kentwood.

Districts begin

The district track and field meets began yesterday and will continue through Saturday.

A Division I meet will be held today and Saturday at St. Francis de Sales. Bowsher is the defending girls team champ and St. John s Jesuit will look to defend its boys title.

Rogers senior high jumper Erik Kynard will look to win his fourth straight district title and will try for a second consecutive sweep of the jumping events. St. John s junior Cody Riffle will attempt to defend his title in the discus.

The other D-I site is being held at Tiffin Columbian. It began yesterday and will finish tomorrow.

Perrysburg s girls are the defending champions. Yellow Jackets junior Cameron Gardner won the 100 and 200 last year and helped the 400 relay and 800 relay teams win. Sophomore Kaitlyn Llewellyn won the 1600 and 3200 and helped the 3200 relay team win.

The top four boys and top four girls in each event qualify for the regional at Amherst.

In Division II, the Eastwood boys will attempt to claim their fifth straight team title at Oak Harbor which finishes tomorrow. Eastwood junior Cody Seifert is the defending champ in the 100 and 200. Eagle senior Josh Hoodlebrink will attempt to again sweep the high jump and long jump.

The other D-II meets will be held at Elida and Lima Shawnee. The top four boys and top four girls in each event will advance to regionals.

Division III teams will compete at Ayersville and Eastwood. Archbold is the defending boys and girls champion at Ayersville. The meets begin today and will be completed on Saturday.

Archbold s multiple winners last year were junior Autumn Lantz (100 and 200) and sophomore Trisha King (1600 and 3200).

The top four boys and top four girls will qualify to compete in the regional at Tiffin.

Barnes wins 1600

A photo in Saturday s Sports section misidentified the lead runner from Northview who won the 1600-meter race at the Northern Lakes League meet.

The runner is Jacob Barnes, who won in 4:35.72.


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