With new schools entering the Saginaw Valley League within the last couple of years, the league once again elected to realign its football divisions. The SVL has changed up its football divisions a few times since more area teams began joining the league but this new alignment seems to make the most sense geographically – except for one school.
The consolidation of the Flint schools, along with the additions of Bay City John Glenn this past year and Grand Blanc in the upcoming fall, left some questions about the alignment. However, this is about as close as they can get to a perfect situation.
One division will consist of Bay City Central, Bay City John Glenn, Bay City Western, Midland, Midland Dow, Mt. Pleasant, Saginaw and Saginaw Heritage.
Makes sense, right?
The other division is also logical aside from one school. It includes Davison, Carman-Ainsworth, Flint Powers Catholic, Flint, Grand Blanc and Lapeer. Oh, yeah – and Saginaw Arthur Hill. It all fits in perfectly until you get to Arthur Hill.
I understand that the SVL was trying to get as close as it could to making the divisions even, despite an odd number of schools. But Arthur Hill got the raw end of the deal in this move, while everyone else’s schedule will be much more geographically convenient.
Travel has often been a point of concern in the SVL with some of the teams in the Tri-Cities while the rest reside in the Flint/Lapeer area. For the most part, they solved the issue, but the poor Lumberjacks will be inconvenienced most of all. An inconvenience that they really can’t afford considering the program has only won two games in the last four seasons.
To maintain tradition, Arthur Hill will still play its rivals, opening the season against Saginaw Heritage and concluding it against Saginaw High. Aside from that, the rest of their games consist of teams in Genesee and Lapeer counties.
As for the fans in this area, the new alignment provides easier treks to away games. For the Lapeer fans, only two of their nine games will have a bit of a drive. The season-opener against Lake Orion at the Big House and a week eight game at White Lake Lakeland are the only distance games. Typically, it’s been much more than that.
The Lightning, for the first time since joining the SVL, won’t have to make a trip to Bay City, Saginaw, Midland or Mt. Pleasant. Their other away games are at Flint, Powers and Carman- Ainsworth, all reasonable travels from Lapeer.
The changes should also spark some new rivalries. Although Lapeer has had some intense battles with Davison and Carman-Ainsworth in the first four years as a combined school, rivalries are also likely to develop with Powers and Grand Blanc, schools they have yet to face on the gridiron during their short history.
To make things even more interesting, Lapeer faces those four schools within a five-week span. This should make for an intriguing season…