Dickinson Trinity, New England co-op dissolving

On Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2016 administration from New England Public School and Trinity High School met to discuss the Cooperative Sponsorship Agreement between New England Public School and Dickinson Trinity.

Kelly Koppinger
Kelly Koppinger

 

By Kelly Koppinger|For The Herald

On Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2016 administration from New England Public School and Trinity High School met to discuss the Cooperative Sponsorship Agreement between New England Public School and Dickinson Trinity. At that time, Dickinson Trinity informed us, Dickinson Trinity wanted to dissolve the Cooperative Sponsorship between the two schools effective immediately.

The rationale, for the dissolution, was the new football alignment. With our current enrollment, Dickinson Trinity would remain in the Class “AA” division. If Dickinson Trinity did not have to count our enrollment in their numbers reported to the North Dakota High School Activities Association, Dickinson Trinity would be eligible to participate in the Class “A” division upon dissolution. Our current enrollment puts Dickinson Trinity into the Class “AA” division and they felt it has become increasingly more difficult to compete with the larger schools in Class “AA”.

As you may know, I was the administrator at Dickinson Trinity at the time of the initial cooperative agreement between Dickinson Trinity and New England Public. At the time of this agreement, we (Dickinson Trinity administration and staff) felt in order to be competitive in the Class “AA” ranks; we needed additional athletes in our football program. The marriage between Dickinson Trinity and New England has been very beneficial for both communities. Dickinson Trinity and New England both had excellent football programs with similar philosophies. Unfortunately, Dickinson Trinity no longer feels the cooperative agreement is beneficial to their system. This leaves us looking for options for our football players.

We have not been in formal conversation with any other schools in the area. However, we have discussed our options with Mr. Fetsch, the Director for the NDHSAA. In the current and proposed football plan, there are a few communities in our region where our current enrollment would not affect the classification of the football program we are researching for possible cooperative sponsorships.

Another option we are looking into is the six man football league that is currently being discussed by several smaller schools in North Dakota. Six man is a fast-moving game played on an 80 yard long by 40 yard wide field instead of the normal 100 yard by 54 yard field used in 11 man football.  Furthermore, the game specifies a 15 yard distance from the line of scrimmage to gain a first down instead of the normal 10 yards in 11 man football.

All six players are eligible to be receivers. On offense, three linemen are required on the line of scrimmage at the start of the play. The player to whom the ball is snapped cannot run the ball past the line of scrimmage; however, if the ball is tossed to another player, that player can run or throw the ball and the player to whom the ball was snapped is still an eligible receiver. All forward passes to the player who snapped the ball (center) must travel at least 1 yard (1 m) in flight.

Scoring is the same as in 11-man football, with the exceptions being on the point after touchdown attempt and the field goal.  A point-after kick is worth two points, while a conversion made by running or passing the ball is worth one point; this is the opposite of 11-man football. In addition, a field goal is worth 4 points instead of 3. These rule changes were made because of the difficulty of successfully getting a kick off with so few blockers on the line compared to the number of defenders.

Currently, North Dakota does not have a formal 6 man football plan. There are a couple of schools in western North Dakota that are playing in Montana. There is some movement in trying to establish 6 man football in North Dakota; however, nothing concrete has been formed.

New England Public School has a proud tradition of excellence in football. We would like to continue this tradition and we will continue to research our options.

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