By David Wolman
Josh Newby, head football coach and athletic director at Ardmore High school, wasn’t 100 percent sure how the football classifications for the 2016-17 and 2017-18 school years were going to shake out.
The football classifications were initially set in July, he said, but after Claremore subsequently moved from Class 6A-Division II to 5A, and Wilson had an application recently approved by the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association to switch from 11-man to 8-man football, the final listing couldn’t be set in stone.
Now, it is.
The Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association unveiled the classifications for the next two school years Tuesday. Ardmore will remain in Class 5A-District 1. Altus, Del City, Duncan, El Reno and Lawton MacArthur will continue to play Ardmore on an annual basis.
The Tigers will make at least one additional trip to Oklahoma City over that span now that Southeast and Western Heights are on board. Northwest Classen will move from 5A-1 to 5A-2. Chickasha has dropped to 4A-1.
Class 3A-4 receives a modest makeover, too.
Plainview, Dickson and reigning district champion Lone Grove will continue their Carter County rivalry for the foreseeable future. Sulphur, located in nearby Murray County, remains in 3A-4.
Pauls Valley will add to the rivalry that the four area schools already have.
Those schools will have a longer drive now that Seminole has been ushered into district play.
Pauls Valley and Seminole will see their first action in 3A-4 in 2016 after swapping districts with Comanche and Marlow.
District 2A-4 will see the promotion of Stratford from Class A to 2A. Davis, the two-time defending 2A state champion, as well as Tishomingo, Kingston, Atoka, Coalgate and Marietta, continue their district rivalry.
Wilson’s drop to 8-man football forced the OSSAA to reshuffle Class A. Elmore City-Pernell was already in Class A, but will now move from Districts 4 to 3. The remainder of the district still remains intact. Boone-Apache, Empire, Healdton, Ringling, Rush Springs and Velma-Alma all return to District 3.
District B-4 will have a completely different look. All 10 schools that have comprised the district in 2014 and 2015 have been reassigned. Fox and Ryan will continue to play eight-man football but will, effective next year, ascend from Class C to B. Bray-Doyle and Waurika are the lone two schools in the new-look B-4 that played in Class B during the 2014 and 2015 seasons. Central High joins them after moving down one classification from A to B.
In District C-4, Thackerville will have Bokoshe, Bowlegs, Coyle, Midway, Paoli, Sasakwa and Webbers Falls standing in their way of another playoff berth.
Ardmore will have its home opener at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Noble Stadium against visiting Durant.
Plainview travels to Pauls Valley the same night.
Dickson is also at home and will play Lindsay in a non-district game.
Lone Grove hosts Hugo in a non-district contest. The game is the first home game of the season for the Longhorns, who spent the first two weeks of the season on the road.
OSSAA-approved Football Districts for 2016-17 and 2017-18 seasons:
Class 5A-District 1 — Altus, Ardmore, Del City, Duncan, El Reno, Lawton-MacArthur, Southeast, Western Heights
3A-4 — Dickson, Lone Grove, Madill, Pauls Valley, Plainview, Seminole, Sulphur
2A-4 — Atoka, Coalgate, Davis, Kingston, Marietta, Stratford, Tishomingo
A-3 — Boone-Apache, Elmore City-Pernell, Empire, Healdton, Ringling, Rush Springs, Velma-Alma
B-4 — Bray-Doyle, Central High, Fox, Ryan, Waurika, Wilson
C-4 — Bokoshe, Bowlegs, Coyle, Midway, Paoli, Sasakwa, Thackerville, Webbers Falls
For the complete listing of classifications, visit http://www.ossaaonline.com/docs/2015-16/Football/FB_2015-16_1617Districts.pdf?id=5