The Milbank Area Bulldogs will join the I-29 football conference beginning with the 2015-2016 school year. The conference will be made up of teams from Milbank, McCook Central, Flandreau, Sioux Valley and Sisseton.
According to Bulldog head football coach, Jeremy Tostenson, Milbank was approached by McCook Central, Flandreau and Sioux Valley to form the new conference. Those teams were struggling to find enough games to fill their schedule because of the large, competitive Dac 12 conference.
In addition, the Northeast Conference has been shrinking the last few years because teams such as Britton-Hecla, Clark-Willow Lake, Tiospa Zina, Webster Area and Deuel dropped to nine-man football. Therefore the NEC teams were also struggling to fill its schedules with games that did not require such large travel distances.
The deciding factor came down to travel and limiting the distance Milbank Area would need to go to complete its schedule. Class 11A moved to a 9-game schedule this season. Madison and Dell Rapids agreed to maintain games with Milbank Area. Moving to the new conference opened up playing more teams in Class 11A instead of filling the schedule with 11B schools, which will keep the travel distances more manageable.
“If we weren’t able to keep some 11A teams on our schedule, the conference would not have happened,” explained Tostenson. “It is exciting to be in a new conference with new teams. The biggest benefit is less travel to get to those 11A schools.”
Despite joining the I-29 conference, Milbank will also remain in the Northeast Conference as well, meaning the Bulldogs are part of two conferences. The reason for this is that the South Dakota High School Activities Association will honor conference schedule games, and this ensures that Milbank will play those I-29 teams along with NEC teams. This also ensures that Milbank would not have to travel long distances to places such as Mobridge to fill out its schedule.
Milbank will continue to play Aberdeen Roncalli, Groton Area, Redfield-Doland and Sisseton which are all 11B schools. This year will be the first year that Sisseton will play in Class 11B. McCook Central, Flandreau and Sioux Valley are also 11B.
Without moving to the I-29 conference, Milbank would be required to travel to some of the other 11A schools in the state, many of which are west river schools.
Some of those games may have included contests with Belle Fourche, Canton, Cheyenne-Eagle Butte, Dakota Valley, Dell Rapids, Hot Springs, Lennox, Madison, Milbank Area, Pine Ridge, Sioux Falls Christian, St. Francis Indian, St. Thomas More, Tea Area, Todd County, Vermillion and West Central. Those are the remaining teams that make up Class 11A.
Another change for the upcoming season is the elimination of regions in Class 11A. At the completion of the nine-game schedule, the top eight teams in the class will advance to the playoffs and will be seeded one through eight. The power point system will be used to determine who advances to the playoffs. Football will use the same power point system as volleyball and basketball this year.
Seed points will be awarded based upon opponent’s win percentage (number of varsity wins divided by total number of varsity contest played). See chart below:
|Opponent’s Win Percentage||Points for Win||Points for Loss|
|.750 and above||50||39|
|.500 – .749||47||36|
|.250 – .499||44||33|
|.249 and below||41||30|
*No points are deducted for playing teams which are classified below your classification.
*No additional points are awarded for playing teams with are classified above your classification.
*A team’s seed point average will be determined by dividing the total number of seed points earned by the total number of contests played against varsity opponents, regardless of the opponent’s classification.
*One additional seed point will be awarded to a team’s average at the end of the regular season who finishes undefeated.
Tostenson feels this is a good move for Class 11A and looks forward to the upcoming season.
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