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I Won’t Stop On This News Story!

Illinois High School Association

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Of all days on Thanksgiving, I received a reply from Nokomis Redskins assistant football coach Ben Tarter regarding my Facebook statuses on my personal account, as well on this very blog, regarding why Nokomis should be allowed to return to the South Central Conference in high school sports. This is what he had to say (it may not be the exact way I received it, but I’m editing it to prove he’s not exactly an idiot):

This is Ben Tarter, an assistant football coach for Nokomis. You are crazy for wanting us to join the South Central Conference for football. The schools are all twice our size, get twice as many kids to go out plus we can’t compete year in and year out in football. We could in baseball and basketball because 1-2 good players can get you by. In baseball, you need a good pitcher, but can otherwise get by. In football, you have to have 11, not just 1-2, good athletes. This includes girls sports as well. That’s all.

I sent Coach Tarter this long and lengthy response:

Ben, it’s nice to hear your opinion, but I’m tired of the Prairie State Conference. The rivalries ALWAYS change every few years. Our biggest rivals (North Macoupin & Pawnee) could be abandoning ship for the Sangamo Conference and two of our current teams who jumped over from South Central (Staunton & Gillespie) might be returning.

Obviously, you don’t realize our school district is broke with a capital B. The state won’t be paying the entire amount anytime soon and we need to do whatever we can to save costs in the athletic department, which also means a conference realignment.

We had a lot of competition (without regards to school size) when Nokomis was one of ten schools who created the SCC 84 years ago. I would rather save costs by returning to the conference we helped create and have had no involvement in for 26 years.

The Prairie State Conference has just lost its luster – it stopped being interesting when the same teams win the conference every year. You, Coach Cesaretti, football staff and athletic director may not want better competition, but we created that conference and I believe we can take down those powerhouses. (The IHSA eventually has the final administrative decision NOT Gayle McRoberts, the current president of the SCC. There are many conferences with 1A schools who face 2A, 3A and 4A schools, so don’t give me any excuses.)

Nokomis has always have had their biggest rivalries against Pana, as well as Hillsboro and Litchfield when we were in the SCC. Maybe the Nokomis School Board doesn’t know all of the history of the school’s years in that conference, but they don’t realize we did better than what we do in the PSC. Maybe you should look into the records in the athletic department (or wherever they hold their sports archives) before you say we don’t belong in that conference. Outside of our conference rivals, our only good competition was Sangamon Valley.

By the 2012-13 school year, the conference picture will show its potential demise:
1) Staunton & Gillespie might be returning to South Central
2) NorthMac & Pawnee will be jumping to Sangamo
3) Bunker Hill will be gone before they’ve been in long enough – perhaps a return to WIVC or go unaffiliated

You’re possibly looking at Morrisonville, Kincaid/South Fork, Nokomis and Mt. Olive by 2012-13 and you’ll be looking at 4-5 vacancies which probably won’t get filled. It won’t be enough to keep in operation, although it’ll be cheaper, but it’ll be a scheduling nightmare.

At least in South Central, we only play 6 conference divisional games, 1-2 against the other division and possibly 1 non-conference game in football. Scheduling conference games in the remaining sports won’t be a big deal, except soccer, which pretty much doesn’t exist in our district anymore without driving our players to Raymond for practice every day.

It’s a small price to pay to be in a better athletic conference where we can prove something again – our history there in prior years is proof enough.

I did my research, now do yours before you make another rebuttal that makes no sense at all.

Only a few minutes later, Tarter would submit this reponse:

Hey, Jake, I don’t want to argue about it. You have your opinion and I have mine. If we do happen to join the South Central Conference, I will take any upcoming Nokomis football team to compete. Whether we win or get our ass beat, I’ll coach my heart out to win for those boys. No hard feelings, I hope. I appreciate your concern for the school district.

My final words in the conversation:

That’s great and I’ll be more than willing to support them wherever they go.



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