The 50-yard line at Civic Stadium in Bellingham. PHOTO: Doug Lange
2018 NWC 2A Football: New Teams & Divisions
June 25, 2018
2A Northwest Conference football will have a different look for 2018. There will be new teams and two divisions when the prep squads hit the gridiron this coming season.
There will be 11 total 2A football teams competing in the NWC 2A ranks. Archbishop Murphy and Cedarcreast are coming over from the defunct Cascade Conference. Mountlake Terrace is joining after previously playing in the Wesco 3A South.
The 11 teams will be divided between tiered divisions. Lynden, Sedro-Woolley, Lakewood, Burlington and Archbishop Murphy will all play in the upper tier "Sky Division". The lower tier "Lake Division" will consist of teams from Bellingham, Blaine, Sehome, Anacortes, Cedarcrest and Mountlake Terrace.
Competitive balance and help for teams that have struggled recently appears to be the guiding force behind the creation of the divisions.
In a January 30th Everett Herald article, Northwest Conference president and Burlington-Edison athletic director Don Beazizo spoke about the changes. “We were trying to take all the 2A schools here in District 1 and come up with some sort of system to take care of those schools that are really struggling at the bottom end, as far as numbers and getting the kids to turn out and participate,” said Beazizo.
The strength of the Sky Division is apparent. Since the 2007-2008 season Lynden, Archbishop Murphy, Sedro-Woolley and Burlington have combined to play in 11 2A state championship games, sometimes against each other. Lynden has 5 championships during the time frame while Archbishop Murphy and Sedro-Woolley have each won once.
Last year the 5 members of the Sky Division went a combined 35-and-19 with all the squads advancing to the playoffs. The 6 members of the Lake Division went a combined 18-and-40 with no team advancing to the postseason.
Playoff scenarios for the divisions differ and still appear to be a work in progress depending on the state allocations given to the NWC.
According to NWCAthletics.com Bracketologist Ted House, all five Sky division teams will have a playoff opportunity based on league standing only. No Rating Percentage Index will be used. Meanwhile the 6 teams in the Lake Division, along with Liberty and Sammamish will use the RPI system for week 9 seeding.
Via e-mail House told The Doug Lange Network that week 9 and 10 will work this way: "Depending on the allocations, top teams from the Sky Division will receive byes in week 9. Lower teams in the Sky will play Week 9 playoff games against the Lake Division based on Lake's RPI rankings. Week 10 games will feature winners from week 9, against those who had byes. Again, the format will depend on state allocations determined by the WIAA."
While the 2A shakeup affected scheduling for all, the six other Whatcom County high schools playing 11-man football will see no conference or division changes. Ferndale and Squalicum will continue to play in the Wesco 3A South. Meridian, Mt. Baker, Lynden Christian and Nooksack Valley remain as the 4 lone 1A members of the NWC.
The 2018 NWC and Wesco football seasons begin Friday August 31st. Schedules are available at www.NWCAthletics.com.
- Doug Lange