By DOUG DONNELLY
The Cascades Conference will divide itself into two divisions next year when it expands to 12 teams, setting up a potential conference championship in several sports, including football.
“We ran through several different scenario’s,” said Addison Athletic Director Joshua Lindeman. “When we looked at it geographically, this seemed to make the most sense.”
- The Cascades Conference East will consist of East Jackson, Grass Lake, Leslie, Manchester, Michigan Center and Napoleon.
- The Cascades Conference West will include Addison, Columbia Central, Hanover-Horton, Homer, Jonesville and Vandercook Lake.
After adding Leslie, Homer, Jonesville and Columbia Central over the last several months, the conference will expand to 12 teams in 2023-24.
The East-West alignment also divides the conference in terms of enrollment. The top two schools in terms of current enrollment are divided, as are the third and fourth schools.
“It makes sense,” Lindeman said. “When we looked at it, we thought it divided the conference up pretty evenly.”
Lindeman said the divisions will be used to create schedules for all sports, even middle school.
“With divisional play, travel time will be diminished,” Lindeman said.
While league officials have only announced the divisions at this point, it is anticipated that the breakdown will mean a Week 9 championship game against the top team in the East and the top team in the West in football. The championship game could be played on a Saturday afternoon, the day after the rest of the conference teams play a crossover game.
Other conference sports that do not have a one-day championship meet or tournament, such as wrestling, volleyball or track and field could also have championhips. That means potentially a conference title game in football, boys and girls basketball, baseball and softball.
“Can you imagine, in Jackson, a conference title game for basketball between the two top teams in the divisions?” Lindeman said. “I think that would draw a huge crowd. It’s exciting.”
Those details are still under discussion, Lindeman said.