BY TRAVIS LAZARCZYK Staff Writer
The decision by Calais-Woodland earlier this week to not field a varsity football team in the 2012 season could leave the Little Ten Conference scrambling to adjust its schedule.
The loss leaves the LTC with 11 teams: Bucksport, Dexter, Foxcroft, Hermon, John Bapst, Maine Central Institute, Mattanawcook, Mt. View, Orono, Stearns, and Washington.
In a release, Calais assistant principal Matt Clark cited the low number of projected participants, and a declining interest in football at Calais and Woodland. The Silverados may continue with club status, Clark said, adding that work must be done to build a strong feeder program before the team can reclaim its varsity status.
Mt. View athletic director Chuck Karter said the conference athletic directors haven't yet discussed how Calais' decision will affect the 2012 season.
"I'm waiting to see, just like everybody," Karter said.
There's a possibility Ellsworth, which has been building toward fielding a team, could replace Calais in the LTC, keeping the league at 12 members. Without naming specific schools, Mike Burnham, assistant executive director of the Maine Principals' Association, said that the football committee could hear from a team looking for varsity status at its April 24 meeting.
"We're looking at schools that may be ready to field a team," Burnham said.
Should Ellsworth gain varsity status, the Eagles could slide in and fill the spot left by Calais. If Ellsworth feels it's not ready to compete just yet, the LTC has options.
One is a bye week, playing an eight-game regular season over a nine week period. The PTC A did this in 2005 and 2006, after Waterville and Gardiner dropped to Class B and Windham left for Class A West left the league with 11 teams.
"No one wants a bye," Karter said. "The continuity of a season with a bye is lost. Football is a game of momentum."
Another option would be to fill the hole in the schedule with exhibition games.
A similar problem occurred in the Pine Tree Conference Class B division in 2008. In the middle of a two-year scheduling cycle, Old Town decided to drop to Class C to resurrect its program. Camden Hills, which planned on joining the PTC B in 2009, agreed to take Old Town's place on the schedule, playing exhibition games to ensure no team had a bye week.
A bye week would force the LTC to eliminate a round of playoffs and go back to a four-team postseason.
The schools that originally had Old Town on their schedule had their Crabtree points, which determine playoff seeding, calculated on a seven-game schedule, while the three teams that were not scheduled to play Old Town -- Winslow, Leavitt and Oak Hill -- stayed with an eight-game season.
Preventing a bye week also enabled the PTC B to keep an eight-team playoff format. In a very competitive season for the PTC B, Morse of Bath, the No. 5 seed entering the playoffs, won the league title.
Travis Lazarczyk -- 861-9242
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