After seeing initial changes to the Conference 2A Central Region, in which Sedona Red Rock High School and Camp Verde High School compete, there was a drastic remodeling following the appeals process.
Balancing the equity in travel demands from schools within the metro Phoenix area and the rural schools was the main reason for the makeover.
“Obviously the Phoenix schools have opportunities for less travel with the number of schools in the area,” said Duane Ediger, the Conference 2A chair and athletic director at Scottsdale Preparatory Academy. “It’s not fair for a school or group of schools to not travel and others do a considerable amount.”
Schools appealed to the Arizona Interscholastic Association after original changes in October. Following the finalizations, made at the AIA Conference 2A meeting the first week of November, the region now has seven teams instead of six.
Originally, just one new school was to enter and one to exit. But after the changes there are three new schools and two exiting. One of those leaving is Joy Christian School, the one original newcomer.
Also leaving is Paradise Honors High School, while Glendale Preparatory Academy, already a member, was set to leave but appealed back in. All-girls school Mingus Mountain Academy left.
Joining the remaining schools, Camp Verde, Red Rock and Northland Preparatory Academy, are: Valley Lutheran High School, Northe Pointe Preparatory and Scottsdale Prep.
There will be seven regions in 2A. Two will have six and eight teams each and three with seven teams each.
How many teams should belong in each region was a big question to answer, Ediger said. Some athletic directors believed that the right amount was four to five, and others believed eight to 10 was correct. Having six to eight was the compromise.
“You get to play a variety of schools [with the new structure],” Ediger said. “Winning your region is nice, but I feel like it’s watered down [with only four to five], it’s too few to say you really won your region.”
While the Central Region will have an increased number of schools competing for playoff places, it should not create much of a competitive disadvantage.
Currently, the top two teams from each region get a playoff berth. The remaining teams that make up the conference’s top 24 take the rest of the spots. However, that could change heading into the new cycle.
The region chairs will meet on Wednesday, Nov. 29, to discuss the state tournament format. From there the chairs will return to the athletic directors with a recommendation, which will then be voted on.
Football, a Different Animal
During recent cycles, football teams have been placed in regions with different opponents than the rest of team sports. The realignment also saw changes for Camp Verde, which will now play in the Verde Region.
The Cowboys will still face off with Parker High School and Tonopah Valley High School, but now will take on Joy Christian, Glendale Prep and Trivium Preparatory Academy. Verde Valley rival Red Rock is out, but Camp Verde High School Athletic Director Mark Showers already confirmed the rivalry will live on in a freedom game next season.
The new regions intend to create a better balance of competitiveness.
“The 2A conference, in my opinion, did something positive in creating regions of schools that struggle in football,” Ediger said. “Creating more regions with schools that aren’t overpowering. Regions that would benefit more football teams.”