By David Fleet
The expanded Flint Metro League will crown a champion this fall.
In 2018 the Flint Metro League approved Goodrich, Corunna and Lake Fenton to join beginning at the start of the 2019-2020 season in August.
The move created a 12 team league with two divisions of six schools based on enrollment. Now, with higher enrollment schools are the Stripes Division which include Fenton, Flushing, Holly, Kearsley, Linden and Swartz Creek. The lower school enrollment make up the Stars Division, Brandon, Clio, Corunna, Goodrich, Lake Fenton and Owosso.
The nine game football season includes five division games, three non conference games and a cross over game at the end of the season where the first place Stars Division will play the first place Stripes Division team for the overall championship. Similarly, the number two through six teams in the division will also play.
“The expanded league is a good thing,” said Chris Deines, Brandon Athletic Director.
“There are now more competitive schools, some new rivals and balance over all the Flint Metro League. This is now the largest league in the Genesee County area.”
The division will also include boys/girls basketball, track and field, wrestling and volleyball.
The official start of practice for high school football is Aug. 12. According to the Michigan High School Athletic Association, beginning with the 2019 football season, teams will be allowed no more than six hours of full-pads collision contact per week during the preseason and no more than 30 minutes of collision contact during a week of in-season (after games begin) practice. That’s a reduction from 90 minutes per week during in-season. “Collision” is defined as contact at game speed, with the execution of full tackles at a competitive pace, taking players to the ground.
Goodrich Varsity Head Coach Tom Alward said this will change the game.
“The game will be safer but there’s a trade off,” said Award. “We need to establish the skills necessary to perform in the game. We need to now think differently in regard to contact then in the past. There are new coaching aides that we can implement and we need to be creative in our style to keep away from the contact drill.”
“If they don’t have practice time you could be less prepared— that would be my first concern,” he said. “We try to make this sport safe for kids, if this does not get it done, we’ll need to take another look at it.”