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MHSA shuffles 8-Man, 6-Man football alignments

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Posted at 4:44 PM, Nov 26, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-26 18:54:16-05

HELENA -- Days after the 2019 high school football state championship games, the Montana High School Association executive board again shuffled the 8- and 6-Man classifications at its annual November meeting, which was held Monday.

Westby-Grenora and Sheridan were both approved to play 8-Man football after previously playing 6-Man. Both schools have two weeks to review and appeal the reclassification decisions. If they do, they must demonstrate that their projected enrollments will be less than the 6-Man cutoff, their roster sizes will be "near or under the (6-Man) average" and that they haven't experienced a great deal of success in 6-Man football.

Westby-Grenora will join the Eastern Conference, growing the league to 12 teams. The Northern Conference also features 12 teams.

Sheridan will compete in the Southern Conference, which now includes eight teams. The West has 11 teams.

The big change came in 6-Man football, where the executive board approved the addition of another division. Teams were previously split into four divisions -- the North, South, East and West -- but a Central Division will be created for the 2020 football season.

Football classifications are organized using enrollment ranges: Schools with 130-plus students compete in 11-man football, schools with 65-130 students compete in 8-Man football, and schools with less than 65 students compete in 6-Man football.

Fairview defeated Alberton-Superior for the 8-Man title on Saturday, while Jordan defeated Wibaux in the 6-Man championship game.

The new 6-Man football divisions break down as follows:

North (7 teams): Big Sandy, Box Elder, Heart Butte, North Star, Power-Dutton-Brady, Sunburst, Valier.

Central (6): Denton-Geyser-Stanford, Geraldine-Highwood, Grass Range-Winnett, Harlowton, Roy-Winifred, Hobson-Moore-Judith Gap.

South (7): Bridger, Broadview-Lavina, Custer-Hysham, Fromberg, Plenty Coups, Reed Point-Rapelje, Shields Valley.

East (6): Bainville, Froid-Medicine Lake, Jordan, Richey-Lambert, Savage, Wibaux.

West (5): Gardiner, Hot Springs, Noxon, Valley Christian, White Sulphur Springs.

The updated 8-Man football divisions are below.

East (12 teams): Broadus, Circle, Culbertson, Ekalaka, Fairview, Forsyth, Lame Deer, Lodge Grass, Plentywood, St. Labre, Scobey, Westby-Grenora.

North (12): Belt, Cascade, Centerville, Chester-Joplin-Inverness, Chinook, Choteau, Fort Benton, Great Falls Central, Hays-Lodgepole, Rocky Boy, Shelby, Simms.

South (8): Absarokee, Ennis, Joliet, Lone Peak, Park City, Sheridan, Twin Bridges, West Yellowstone.

West (11): Alberton-Superior, Arlee, Charlo, Darby, Drummond-Philipsburg, Plains, St. Ignatius, Seeley-Swan, Thompson Falls, Troy, Victor.