Realignment brings changes to area football landscape

Feb. 2—District 10 finalized its regions for the 2024-25 and 2025-26 two-year cycle at Wednesday's meeting for all fall sports. The new regions — and enrollment numbers — will bring big changes for several area football teams.

The Meadville football team will remain in Class 4A, but the Bulldogs' road to the postseason will look different.

Meadville belongs to Region 6 with Oil City, Franklin, Warren and General McLane — all of which are in Class 4A. It's a change from last cycle when Meadville and Corry were the only teams in 4A. The result was an automatic bid to the district title game.

Meadville head coach Ray Collins is excited about the change.

"I'm pretty excited about it. I enjoy that," Collins said. "I like the competition and I like seeing more 4A teams out there. I think that makes the season interesting and come playoff time it makes things much more interesting."

The Bulldogs won their region the past two years with Conneaut, Franklin, Oil City, Warren and Titusville. Meadville has also won three straight D-10 titles.

In 2021, the 'Dogs beat General McLane for the crown 52-19 at Edinboro University.

"We welcome back General McLane, who was good last year as a young football team. They're on the rise," Collins said. "Coach (Marshall) McCormick's done a good job with them. I think they're going to have a lot to say about who is in that District 10 game."

The new batch of Class 4A teams could also add an extra layer of excitement to the Meadville vs. Oil City rivalry. The two teams have played in highly anticipated matchups the last few years and the possibility of a meeting in the playoffs would be great for local football fans.

"One thing I enjoy is the Meadville-Oil City rivalry. Dan York (Oil City's head coach) is a good friend of mine," Collins said. "I always enjoy meeting up with him whether it's in the regular season or in the playoffs. It's just fun. It's good for football."

An aspect of the new regions that isn't popular with everyone is the required crossover games with Region 7, consisting of Cathedral Prep, Erie and McDowell.

Erie and McDowell are much bigger schools than the region of Region 6. The smallest of which, Franklin, has an enrollment number of 298. Erie's is 1,643, nearly six times larger. Cathedral Prep has an enrollment of 273, but is forced to play in Class 5A due to the PIAA's success formula.

Collins is of the mind that the games will do nothing but help his Bulldogs down the stretch. Facing that level of competition will better prepare them for a high level of competition.

"The last three years we've gotten into the state playoffs and we've advanced and never got past the quarterfinal game," Collins said. "In my opinion, if we're going to get past that quarterfinal game into a final four game or beyond that to a state championship game, the only way we're gonna get better and be prepared to see the best 4A teams in the state is by us lining up in the regular season against Prep, McDowell, Erie and Butler.

"I think it prepares our kids for what could possibly await us down the road should we achieve our goals of a District 10 championship and the state playoff system. You will see dynamic quarterbacks, fast receivers, physical, aggressive defenses, and that's what you get against Prep, McDowell and Erie. You don't want the first time you see something like that to be in the last game of the year of the state playoffs."

Conneaut shifts to southern region

With Conneaut's departure from Region 5, the Eagles will be in Region 4 this season with a talented crop of teams.

Conneaut's new region includes Hickory, Sharon, Slippery Rock, Grove City and Titusville. Hickory, Sharon and Grove City were in the final four of the Class 3A District 10 playoffs last season. Hickory won the D-10 title and advanced to the state playoff semifinals.

"The immediate reaction is that we really wanted to stay in the region we have been in the last two years. We are heading towards a buzz saw of a region, but the cliche holds true, iron sharpens iron," Conneaut head coach Josh Blood said. "If we want to find success as a program, we have to play great competition. Two years ago when I was hired the projected regions were out and we were supposed to go into that region.

"Two years ago CASH football wouldn't have survived the move to that region. We are stronger than we were then and in the long run this will help the program."

Conneaut finished 2-7 last season, an improvement over a one-win 2022 and a winless 2021. The Eagles are trending in the right direction, but the new region will make a region title a tough task.

A casualty of the new regions is the unlikely possibility of Conneaut and Meadville meeting for a cross-county rivalry game.

"At this point I'm not sure if we will be able to schedule a non-region game with Meadville. D-10 will schedule all conference games and will likely schedule 3 non-conference games for us," Blood said. "If they are not one of the scheduled 'cross-over' games, that would leave us with a small chance of having a similar opening in our schedule with Meadville."

Small-school football

Cambridge Springs, Cochranton, Maplewood and Saegertown will continue to play with each other in the same region. They will be joined by Lakeview and Greenville.

Greenville is a newcomer and dropped into Class 1A from 2A last cycle. Gone from the region are Mercer, Reynolds and Kennedy Catholic. Those three teams joined with Class 2A Farrell, Sharpsville and Mercer to make up a southern 1A and 2A region.



Region 1 — 1A, 2A (Enrollment)

Wilmington 1A (119)

Reynolds 1A (111)

Kennedy Catholic 1A (39)

Farrell 2A (70)

Sharpsville 2A (185)

Mercer 2A (148)

Region 2 — 1A

Cochranton 1A (110)

Cambridge Springs 1A (103)

Maplewood 1A (133)

Lakeview 1A (159)

Saegertown 1A (130)

Greenville 1A (143)

Region 3 — 1A, 2A

Eisenhower 1A (103)

Union City 1A (140)

Iroquois 2A (174)

Northwestern 2A (178)

Seneca 2A (158)

Mercyhurst Prep 2A (156)

Region 4 — 3A

Hickory 3A (256)

Sharon 3A (238)

Slippery Rock 3A (253)

Grove City 3A (285)

Conneaut 3A (238)

Titusville 3A (240)

Region 5 — 3A

Fairview 3A (246)

Fort LeBoeuf 3A (256)

Girard 3A (227)

North East 3A (242)

Harbor Creek 3A (258)

Corry 3A (224)

Region 6 — 4A

Franklin 4A (298)

Oil City 4A (325)

Warren 4A (322)

Meadville 4A (379)

General McLane 4A (306)

Region 7 — 5A, 6A

Cathedral Prep 5A (273)

Erie 6A (1,643)

McDowell 6A (909)

Enrollment ranges

1A: 1-143

2A: 144-216

3A: 217-295

4A: 296-434

5A: 424-619

6A: 620 and above

Alex Topor can be reached at (814) 724-6370 or by email at