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Harlem approved to play 8-man football in the Northern C


Last updated 12/9/2020 at 8:24am

Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson

The Harlem Wildcats battle Malta in a Northern B football game in Harlem back in 2018. The Wildcats were given approval at the latest MHSA Executive Board meeting to drop from 11-man to 8-man football starting next fall.

Another major change to the ever-changing high school football landscape in Montana, and the Hi-Line will come in the fall of 2021. This time, it will be at Harlem High School.

In a recent executive board meeting of the MHSA, the board approved for Harlem to drop from 11-man to 8-man football starting next season. Harlem is a Class B school and will still participate as one, but with the exception of football. The MHSA began allowing Class B schools to move to 8-man football four years ago.

Harlem started off this past season in the Northern B at 2-0, the Wildcat's first 2-0 start in several years. But the Wildcats were still short on numbers this season, and football participation has been dropping in recent years.

In the new re-alignment, Harlem will move into the already loaded Northern C, which also has Shelby. Rocky Boy and Choteau as Class B schools, playing 8-man football. Great Falls Central also plays in the Northern C. The team had moved up to Class B a year ago, but the school will be moving back to Class C for all sports. Poplar is another Class B school which was approved to play 8-man football starting next fall. Poplar also played in the Northern B, which is now down to Conrad, Cut Bank, Fairfield, Glasgow, Malta and Wolf Point. In all, there are now just 24 Class B schools left playing 11-man football in Montana.

Class A also did a minor reshuffle, as East Helena and Lockwood, to schools that opened in the fall of 2019, will begin playing varsity football next fall. Lockwood will be a part of the Eastern Division for football, and the Southeast A in all sports, while East Helena will play football in the Western Division and the Southwest for all sports. Livingston should also return to playing a varsity football schedule next fall, and will also still compete in the Southeast A.

There were also big changes made to the Class C golf structure at the most recent board meeting, with schools split up into two divisions. Area schools that offer golf in Class C are Box Elder, which is in the West Division, as is Fort Benton, and Chinook, which will compete in the East Division.

Also in Class C golf, a divisional qualifier has been put into place, with automatic qualifying scorers set at 85 boys and 100 for girls. The full rules for Class C Divisional Golf include, Automatic Regular Season State Qualifying Score: Boys: 85, Girls: 100

Qualifying scores for the State C meets must occur on a regulation golf course with a marker. Divisional would have the same number of participants allowed as the State Tournament four. Pre Qualified athletes must be entered into the Divisional Tournament and will count towards the number of participants allowed four. If a school has athletes with regular season qualifying scores, they must be entered into the divisional tournament. If a team or individuals choose not to compete at the divisional tournament, they can still compete as individuals and a team - if three or four are qualified - at the state tournament. Each division takes five teams to state and top 25 individual placers - included in the top 25 may be members of the qualifying teams. The maximum participants at the State Tournament for each team is four. Tie-breaking procedures would be the same as Class B.

Other items from the board meeting were:

1. The board reviewed reports regarding recently held state events in cross country, golf, football, soccer and volleyball. The executive board and MHSA staff appreciate the personnel and the venues that hosted and administered these extremely successful events. 2. The board approved the establishment of a Student Leadership/Advisory Committee. 3. The preliminary budget for 2021-2022 was reviewed and approved by the board pending final approval by the membership in January. 4. The board approved the 2022-2023 calendar. 5. The board approved the agenda for the 2021 annual meeting which will be held virtually this year.


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