Town Crier

There were plenty of op­tions, but no decisions on Tuesday morning when the MIAA Football Com­mit­tee got together to proposals for a potential state­wide football playoff. Five different proposals were put forth to the committee, including two developed by athletic directors of the Merrimack Valley Con­ference and the Mid­dlesex League. No decision was made, however, with the committee agreeing discuss the proposals further, and hopefully come to a decision as to which one to adopt when they re­convene at their next meet­ing in January.

The two proposals put forth by the MVC and the Middlesex League, along with the Boston City League and the Dual County League were presented to the com­mittee by MIAA associate executive director Richard Pearson. One plan had a seven-week season followed by playoffs invol­ving the top 16 teams in each division, while the sec­ond proposal offered an eight-game regular season in which the top eight in each division competed for a Super Bowl title.

One of the key aspects of each of these proposals is that Super Bowl games would be played the week before Thanksgiving Day games, therefore allowing the football season to end earlier than it has in the past, that way it would not interfere with the start of the winter season, as it has in recent years.

Among the most popular proposals put before the committee came from Mil­ton High Football coach Steve Dembowski, who pro­posed a plan that calls for ten games to be played in a 12-week window with the regular season ending on Thanksgiving, followed by a playoff in which the top eight teams in each division would advance.

The quarterfinals would be played on Tuesday following Thanksgiving, with the semifinals going that Sunday and the championships to be played on the ensuing Saturday at a neu­tral field.

Dembroski stated that this plan was the prefer­red plan of the Massachu­setts High School Football Coaches Association.

According to Danny Ven­tura of the Boston Herald, Demboswki stated “We pol­led the coaches association and of the 90% which re­sponded, more than 70% were in favor,” said Dem­bowski. “This plan (based off the Connecticut model which has been in existence for a decade) gives us a longer regular season which would eliminate consolation games and makes Thanks­giving Day games relevant again.

“Eight teams in each di­vision would advance to the playoffs. Of that, 32 of them would be eliminated on the following Tuesday, which means a limited amount of schools would be affected in terms of win­ter sports.”

That would be the good news of Dembowski’s proposal. The bad news would be that even if it were just a few schools, it would mean that the football sea­son would be infringing on the start of the winter season, which is something football coaches are trying to avoid, given the ne­gative reaction from winter coaches in the past.

Still, however, as Dem­bow­ski said, most coaches seem to endorse his proposal. One such coach was Dennis-Yarmouth principal Paul Funk, the former head football coach at the school.

“In looking at the proposals, the only one which does make Thanksgiving Day relevant again is Steve Dem­bowski’s proposal,” Funk told the Herald. “We need to lessen the amount of teams in the playoffs and minimize the impact on winter sports which Steve’s plan does.”

One final proposal, known as The Mount Greylock Plan suggested having a nine-game regular season and an earlier start to the season, with the season kic­king off before Labor Day. The regular season would end on the final weekend of October and only teams that qualified for the playoffs would continue. The problem with the plan, however, is that many schools would have a three week layoff before playing their Thanksgiv­ing Day game.

In regards to impacting the start of the winter season, Shrewsbury High athletic director Jay Costa sug­gested the possibility of simply pushing back the start of the winter season, as well as the spring season, in order to accommodate a longer football season.

Football Committee chair­man Jim Pignataro, stated that a survey should be sent out to schools asking which potential playoff format prefer, while Costa suggested they also survey coaches regarding the de­lay of the start of the winter and spring seasons.

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