Stirring up the season

Football team will face new matchups this coming year


Ciara Laney

The Hawks football team focus their attention to pre-game routines before their match against the Mercer Island Islanders on Aug. 31. This season opener with a 28-6 loss for the Hawks, who are starting their first year in the 2A Northwest Conference Lake Division.

By Kennedy Cooper, Sports Co-Editor

The Northwest 2A Conference will take on a very different look this year with its newly adopted two-tiered, football-only league. The 11 2A teams in the district have been split up into two separate divisions, Sky and Lake, to help fight competitive imbalance and support struggling programs.

Burlington-Edison, Sedro-Woolley, Lynden, Lakewood and Archbishop Murphy high schools will make up the Upper Sky division while the Lower Lake division will include Anacortes, Bellingham, Blaine, Sehome, Cedarcrest and Mountlake Terrace high schools.

This new system means that there is something to work towards for every team regarding the playoffs, as the game matchups give teams a better chance at advancing to playoffs. For some of the smaller, struggling football programs it has been hard to get players to want to continue because they were faced up against teams that were too strong to the point that it became a safety concern. Now every team has a shot at the playoffs.

Dom Latham, a senior wide receiver and defensive back for Terrace football, has high hopes for the team in terms of making it to the playoffs.

“I’m excited to actually see the playoffs this season. The Hawks have seen the playoffs maybe one or two times and we know that we’ve let down a lot of people. We went 5-5 last season, missed the playoffs by one game, but I think this new league will definitely help us a lot getting to the playoffs this year so I’m excited for this season and this team,” he said.

The Northwest 2A Conference teams will play a regular season comprised of eight games.

In the Lake division, teams face each other once for a five-game league schedule and in the Sky division, teams plays each other once for a four-game league schedule.

Playoff seeding will be determined by a Ratings Percentage Index system, which is a quantity used to rank sports teams based upon a team’s wins and losses and the strength of its opponents that season.

When playoffs start during week nine of the season, the top three teams in the Sky division receive a bye while the Nos. 4 and 5 teams from Sky play the top teams from the Lake division, as well as Liberty and Sammamish.

While splitting the league into two divisions helps the smaller, struggling schools, it also means that Terrace will no longer be playing its longtime rivals from the Edmonds School District during the regular season.

Alex Paluck, a senior offensive and defensive lineman for Terrace, said, “It definitely feels different not being able to play one of our rivals for the homecoming game or senior night, or even at all, but at the end of the day, we come to take care of business and that’s all that matters.”

No longer playing in the 2A/3A Western conference for the regular season also means that Terrace will have a chance to face the teams they will be playing in postseason.

On the subject, JP McIntosh, a senior offensive lineman and linebacker for Terrace, said, “I think it’ll give us a better chance to win our division because we will be facing a lot of teams that aren’t as strong as Edmonds-Woodway or Meadowdale.”

To determine what teams will be in which division, at the end of each season, the district will use a weighted formula to decide whether teams should be placed in the Sky or Lake division. The formula includes factors such as roster size, number of graduating seniors, number of underclassmen, a coaches’ poll and win-loss record.