The prep football alliance between the Greater Catholic League Coed Division and the Columbus-based Central Catholic League has been finalized, at least for two years.
The Roger Bacon and Purcell Marian football programs are leaving the GCL Coed and and have committed to the Miami Valley Conference for the 2019 and 2020 seasons, with the GCL Coed merging its North and Central divisions starting in 2019.
That will leave Badin, Fenwick, McNicholas, Alter, Chaminade Julienne and Carroll in the one-division GCL Coed, which decided to align with the CCL to alleviate scheduling problems.
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In the new scheduling setup in Weeks 4 and 5, Badin and McNick have chosen to keep playing Bacon and Purcell in nonleague play in ’19 and ’20. The remaining GCL Coed schools — all from the current North Division — are adding Columbus opponents to fill out their nonleague schedules.
“I think we’ve come out of it meeting the needs of our schools going into the future in terms of having full schedules and competitive schedules,” GCL Coed commissioner Tom Donnelly said. “After that two-year run, my hope is that Purcell and Roger Bacon will be in a position to rejoin the league for football, but we’ll see. We have a couple years to figure that part out.”
Badin coach Nick Yordy likes the idea of continuing to play Bacon and Purcell rather than adding some trips to Central Ohio.
As for moving to one six-team division, Yordy conceded it will be more difficult to win a title. The Rams have been GCL champions nine times since joining the league in 1991.
“In my opinion, it will be a pretty prestigious honor if you can win the league with that schedule,” Yordy said.
McNick coach Mike Orlando said he supports the move to one division, even though Rockets have won the last six Central championships.
“I understand both sides,” Orlando said. “I was for the all-in-one not because we don’t want to win that (Central) title — we do. But for me, a four-team league gets kind of watered down sometimes.”
New Fenwick coach Dan Haverkamp will get one season of the current two-division format before preparing for one division in 2019.
“The traditionalist in me would love to see Bacon and Purcell stay, but I understand,” Haverkamp said. “We’ll just move forward with whatever’s next.”
The GCL Coed-CCL matchups in Weeks 4 and 5 will be as follows:
• 2019, Week 4: Fenwick at St. Charles, Carroll at Watterson, CJ at Hartley, Alter at DeSales
• 2019, Week 5: St. Charles at Carroll, DeSales at Fenwick, Watterson at CJ
• 2020, Week 4: St. Charles at Fenwick, Watterson at Carroll, Hartley at CJ, DeSales at Alter
• 2020, Week 5: Carroll at St. Charles, Fenwick at DeSales, CJ at Watterson
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Alter and Hartley are only playing one crossover per year. Hartley has Week 5 matchups with Clinton-Massie, while Alter is seeking a Week 5 opponent for both seasons.
Alter coach Ed Domsitz said his preference is to keep the current eight-team, two-division format that includes Bacon and Purcell. But he realizes a two-division league isn’t practical with only six teams.
“It would’ve been nice if we’d been able to stay the way it was,” Domsitz said. “Obviously I want to coach at Alter and I’m not going to walk away because we’re going to one division, but I don’t feel it’s a positive step at all. I said I would not favor that and I think some of the other coaches were not in favor of that, but we don’t make the decisions.
“What’s wrong with having two schools in the GCL that can declare themselves champions? That’s a good marketing tool. What’s wrong with having more kids selected to the all-league team? That’s a good marketing tool. The answer I’ve gotten when I’ve asked the question why is because the other sports have gone to (one division). Well, do we have to do everything the other sports do? The answer is no, we don’t have to.”
Why is Alter only playing DeSales in the alliance?
“It came down initially that we were supposed to play Watterson and Hartley,” Domsitz said. “I didn’t want to play Hartley and DeSales in the same year. That was fine initially, then they changed it all and said, ‘Here’s what we’re going to do — Alter’s going to play the two best teams in Columbus.’
“We’re not doing that. That’s ridiculous. For crying out loud, we’re a mid-sized D-IV team playing D-III as it is (because of competitive balance). Can you imagine opening up against Fairmont, Thurgood, somebody in Week 3 and then DeSales and Hartley?
“I’ve watched some good Fenwick teams not make the playoffs because they struggled in those first two or three ballgames, and they were teams that were every bit as good as some of the teams who made the playoffs in our division those years. I’m not running from people. We’ll play a tough schedule. But we’ll look around for a Week 5.”