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Author Topic: LL League and Berks League in Merger Discussions  (Read 879 times)

rdg1975

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LL League and Berks League in Merger Discussions
« on: January 24, 2018, 01:11:10 PM »

Berks Football League may join Lancaster-Lebanon League

 Wednesday January 24, 2018 12:00 AM 
 Reading Eagle

The Berks Football League would cease to exist if a plan being considered by the league members, as well as those in the Lancaster-Lebanon League, is accepted by both sides.

The plan, which was presented to athletic directors in both leagues last week, would see the Berks League's 13 teams become part of the Lancaster-Lebanon League as associate members.
Outlines of the plan were first reported late Tuesday on lancasteronline.com.

Tommy Long, football chairperson of the Lancaster-Lebanon League, told the Reading Eagle late Tuesday that the idea was presented to him in November by Kerry Ciatto, BCIAA executive director.

The precise details, in terms of which Berks teams would be assigned to which section, and how many sections there ultimately will be in what would become a 37-team league, have not been finalized.

A likely scenario would see Berks 1 powerhouse Gov. Mifflin join Section I of the L-L and again be paired in league play with rival Wilson. Reading High and Exeter could end up in the largest section as well.

Berks Catholic, which has dominated Berks 2 in recent seasons, could end up in Section II, along with longtime District 3 power Manheim Central and Cocalico.

Long said schools were asked to consider the plan for the next several weeks before meeting again next month.

Ciatto said scheduling is difficult for many of the Berks teams because there are only seven teams in Section 1 and six in Section 2.

"Trying to find non-league games isn't easy," Ciatto said. "It's hard to fill a schedule with five bye weeks."

If accepted, the plan would not go into effect until the 2020 season.

"We're looking outside the box a little bit," Long told the Eagle. "Our sections aren't perfect, either. Bringing in 13 schools would provide us with some flexibility.

"Some programs are strong and need to be challenged more and some need to survive. It would work on both extremes in the best possible way."

Long said he, along with athletic directors Ron Kennedy of Donegal and Doug Bohannon of Elco, have met several times in the past two months with Ciatto, Gov. Mifflin athletic director Pat Tulley and Hamburg athletic director Aaron Menapace to "brainstorm" and share ideas about how a possible expanded L-L would look.

"We played around with details, looked at options," Long said, "to see if we could come up with something."

Long did not disclose details about potential league alignment because discussions are still at such an early stage.
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rdg1975

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Re: LL League and Berks League in Merger Discussions
« Reply #1 on: January 25, 2018, 03:57:09 PM »

Scholastic football: Is proposed merger between Berks and L-L leagues a Hail Mary?

 Thursday January 25, 2018 12:01 AM 
 Written by Mike Drago
 The Berks Football League's proposal to merge with the Lancaster-Lebanon League might best be viewed as a Hail Mary.
If completed, however, it would be a big score for Berks football.
The two-section, 13-member Berks League finds itself hamstrung by a dearth of teams and the stratification in its current landscape, where Gov. Mifflin dominates in Section 1 and Berks Catholic in Section 2.

Other programs have struggled to keep up, especially in Berks 2 where the Saints and Wyomissing have lapped the field.

Berks Catholic beat Hamburg 76-0 last year and took a forfeit from Kutztown, which didn't have enough players to run a full practice let alone compete against a top program.

"Something needs to be done," said Wyomissing coach Bob Wolfrum, Berks' all-time winningest coach. "Our situation is sad. Our division is extremely weak right now. Playing half a schedule doesn't prepare you for the postseason; you don't get any better. Right now it's a struggle in our division to get a competitive game."

The league enjoyed a renaissance a decade ago after Pottsville and Blue Mountain were added from Schuylkill County in 2004, and Gov. Mifflin returned home the same year after three decades in the Lancaster-Lebanon League.

The landscape has changed dramatically since.

Pottsville and Blue Mountain left following the 2015 season to join the newly formed Schuylkill League.

Central Catholic and Holy Name merged in 2011 to form Berks Catholic, which quickly transformed into a state powerhouse. The Saints won their third District 3 championship in four years last season when they won games by wider margin than any other team in Berks history.

At the same time, Mifflin has strengthened its vise-like grip on Berks I, where it has won 10 titles in 12 seasons. Other than Exeter, few of its Berks I rivals have provided much competition in recent years.

By joining the 24-team Lancaster-Lebanon League, Berks officials firmly believe Berks teams will find more equitable competition and scheduling concerns will be eased.

Currently, Berks 2 schools play five non-league games - and they're tough to find, especially for the more competitive programs. Last year, Wyomissing, a Class 3A school, had to travel two hours to face Class 6A Mifflin County. In 2016, the Spartans scheduled Lincoln High from Yonkers, N.Y.

"It would be really nice to know that we're going to have nine weeks of good league competition and have to find only one non-league game," said Berks Catholic athletic director Bill Hess.

"Scheduling's a bear," said BCIAA executive director Kerry Ciatto. "With power ratings, people don't want to play (top programs). Look at what Wyomissing's had to do.

"The I-C was a great league when you added Pottsville, Blue Mountain (and Gov. Mifflin)," Ciatto said. "It's not the same, unfortunately."

Ciatto approached Lancaster-Lebanon League football chairman Tommy Long, the athletic director at Annville-Cleona, in November and proposed a merger.

Representatives from each league met to hash out the details over the past two months and last week presented its 37-team, four-division proposal to its membership, in separate meetings.

The sections would be aligned primarily by enrollment, but with exceptions to aid larger schools that are struggling to compete and smaller schools strong enough to step up in class.

The 10-team Section II, for example, would include Class 4A Berks Catholic, Class 6A Lebanon and seven Class 5A schools, including powerhouse Manheim Central and Cocalico. Muhlenberg would be the only other Berks school in that division, according to the initial proposal.

In Section I ,Wilson would be joined by Berks schools Exeter, Gov. Mifflin and Reading High, along with most of its current Section I rivals.

Section III would have a definite Berks flavor, with Wyomissing and four other Berks schools: Conrad Weiser, Daniel Boone, Fleetwood and Twin Valley.

Section IV would include the smallest schools, giving current Berks 2 members Kutztown, Hamburg and Schuylkill Valley a better chance to compete - and a reprieve from Berks Catholic and Wyomissing.

"It's a great opportunity for our league, and for their league, to grow," Hess said. "We're excited to be part of something bigger. It'll potentially be beneficial for all of the teams in our league."

Despite the obvious upside, there are also negatives.

For one, Berks would lose its football identity: The I-C, as many still refer to what was born as the Inter-County League in the 1950s, will be gone. Dead and buried.

Local rivalries would, for many schools, be curtailed.

Travel-time would increase, twofold, since half or more league games will be played in Lancaster County, 30 to 60 minutes away, or even further in some cases for northern Berks schools such as Hamburg and Kutztown.

The Backyard Brawl between Berks Catholic and Wyomissing would become a season-opener, not a season finale.

The Pig Iron Bowl between Daniel Boone and Exeter would be played in September - maybe even August. And that would be the Eagles' lone non-league game.

Mifflin vs. Wilson, Berks' annual Labor Day weekend kickoff event, would be a season-ender.

Before any of that becomes a reality, there is much to be done - and to be discussed. The initially proposed divisional alignment will likely be tinkered with once the proposal is fully digested.

Ultimately, member schools of the Lancaster-Lebanon League - currently undergoing expansion and realignment - would need to be convinced this huge undertaking is in their best interests.

Contact Mike Drago: 610-371-5061 or mdrago@readingeagle.com.
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Downriver

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Re: LL League and Berks League in Merger Discussions
« Reply #2 on: January 25, 2018, 05:30:19 PM »

Makes sense.  Berks Catholic and Wyomissing were just crushing everyone in the Berks league and it would give them more competitive games.  I think it's a win-win for everyone.
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rdg1975

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Re: LL League and Berks League in Merger Discussions
« Reply #3 on: January 26, 2018, 12:41:17 PM »

I agree, it would basically make D3 3 leagues, Mid Penn, York/Adams and the LL League.
just have to add a B to LL and all is good with me !
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Downriver

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Re: LL League and Berks League in Merger Discussions
« Reply #4 on: January 26, 2018, 01:51:45 PM »

I agree, it would basically make D3 3 leagues, Mid Penn, York/Adams and the LL League.
just have to add a B to LL and all is good with me !

Actually 75 it would make 4 leagues.  There's also the small school Tri-Valley League in upper Dauphin county.
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rdg1975

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Re: LL League and Berks League in Merger Discussions
« Reply #5 on: January 27, 2018, 10:31:09 AM »

that's right, forgot about them, how long will that league last in its present form?
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