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WPT Pre-Season Reflections

The WPT is breaking apart after this season. It will have lasted for four years. I created the site to better allow people to keep track of the teams and help in getting to the games. I have tried to cheer on all of our schools. I have learned a great deal. I now care about Pittsfield, I barely knew where it was before this all started. I became a fan of Annawan. A school making the playoffs even though the Braves only had 125 students. I don't think they let any Bravettes on the team, so by extrapolation almost all of the thirty junior and senior boys must have been a part of the football program. Athens came from never playing football to making the playoffs in three years, I have cheered for the Warriors, as well.

I had always hoped the schools would work with the web site a little more directly. I had always wanted a student from each school writing their own game summaries, promoting each school's booster products, reporting statistics, and posting photos. This never happened; it is hard to coordinate with the right people. I also had a job not just this web site. Even though I never quite got it to where I had hoped, I've had a lot of nice feedback. I am ready to move on because times change and we must accept it. In Western Illinois we must accept the school districts are still in flux. Conferences will not be stable. I think the WPT framework did help manage this.

So what changed during the four years of the WPT. Westwood a coop of Yorkwood and Westmer ended. Yorkwood consolidated with United. Westmer cooped and then consolidated with Aledo. Annawan and Wethersfield cooped. LaHarpe, Dallas City, and Carthage converged. Unity, West Prairie, and West Hancock lost coop partners. Williamsfied cooped with Galva. Greenview left a coop with Porta and joined Athens. Knoxville joined the WPT. Porta, Athens, and Pleasant Plains joined the Sangamo Conference. Cambridge wanted to coop with AlWood, after AlWood and Rowva didn't consolidate. Each year the WPT reformed four divisions all legitimate IHSA conferences to try to make a schedule for the schools in the WPT.

I don't follow the discussions and decisions closely, but it seems a series of events have lead to the present year.

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The Prairieland reformed, the LTC reformed, Farmington came to the Prairieland, the Olympic only had five schools, the former West Central and the Olympic conferences have made an agreement. I read one comment that a reformed LTC would be stable, with the Cambridge, AlWood, Rowva, Galva, rumors I don't see how. I suppose some participants as always have strong opinions about all this, I don't. I think all the schools should consider a WPT type framework in the future. Complaints about the WPT have often been about size differences between opponents and driving distances. I think these problems will still exist with the new reformed conferences. I have a suggested alignment saved as a pdf so open it if you are interested. I think a better alignment of schools playing against schools of similar size could be achieved and drive distances kept manageable. 1A playoff brackets are topping over 300 students. Bushnell-PC/Avon at 319 was just one or two students into the 2A bracket in 2008.

PDF of my suggested framework

The Unity problem is that by itself it is too small for the area coops and schools. Unless Liberty, Payson, and Unity want to form a football coop I don't see how any team will compete with Illini West, Camp Point Central, Pittsfield, West Hancock, etc. Unity could coop with Camp Point Central and SouthEastern could coop with Rushville-Industry to round things out, or Unity could join the the Western Illinois Valley. Once on a message board after learning the size of the school at Annawan I suggested a coop with Cambridge might be attractive. The sharp response was Cambridge didn't need any help. Two years later Cambridge was seeking a coop partner. So I think flexible arrangements will be the best for high school football in Western Illinois.

Through all the turmoil some great games have been able to be played because of the WPT. Cambridge came to Carthage, Aledo and Carthage played, now Illini West and Mercer County, United-Stark County, United-Aledo/Westmer, North Fulton-Stark County, West Hancock-Pittsfield/Griggsville, Bushnell-PC/A-Athens followed by B-PC/A-Havana, Athens/Greenview-Porta, Beardstown-Porta/Greenview, Beardstown-Elmwood/Brimfield, and AlWood/Rowva-Elmwood/Brimfield, which started a great Black Out Night project so many more great games. Some games between old rivals, some new, some games between teams that can never occur again. It has been exciting at times. Aledo, Illini West, and Stark County went to Champaign. Illini West came back a champion. I hope all the schools, players, coaches, and fans will have many good football memories when future schedule alignments bring two determined opponents together on a most special Friday night.



West Prairie/LaHarpe --- Elmwood/Brimfield



AlWood/Rowva --- Beardstown