The Carbon High Football team will most likely be discussing new strategies next season as they will be entering into a newly realigned football class structure. Carbon High will stay in 3A, which was split into 3A and 3AA, and will be joined by rival Emery High for football.
Big changes are on the way for Carbon High School athletics as the finalized realignment for the 2013-15 period was recently approved by the Utah High School Activities Association.
Carbon High School along with many other schools around the state anxiously awaited the final decision for realignment starting with the next school year. Last week, the UHSAA approved a new realignment that would see six classifications used only for football while other sports saw themselves with new and longtime opponents placed in their respective regions.
With the new changes in place for football, Carbon High will be competing in the new split 3A class which is now comprised of a 3A and 3AA. Carbon has been paired with five new teams in the 3A North including one familiar rival in the Emery High School Spartans.
Other teams paired with Carbon and Emery for football includes Grantsville, Judge Memorial, Morgan and Union. This is a change from Carbon's previous region opponents which saw the Dinos play teams including Payson, Juab, North Sanpete, Delta and Spanish Fork for the 2011-13 time period. Some changes for other teams saw Delta, Juab and North Sanpete move to the new 3A South division, while Delta was placed in the 3AA South and Spanish Fork was moved back up to 4A.
The news of the final realignment brought a sense of relief and happiness for Carbon High Football coach Jeff Blanc.
"I think we're very excited about the new (split) 3A realignment for football," said Blanc.
Blanc's team did not fare well from the previous realignment which was put into place in late 2010. The Dinos struggled in their two seasons in Region 12, going 0-10 in region games over two year period.
The first proposed realignment would have seen Carbon placed in a group with schools that would have required plenty of travel for games and may not have been the best fit for the school, Blanc said. At a UHSAA meeting held for school representatives to discuss their thoughts and concerns, Carbon High Principal Bruce Bean told the UHSAA that Carbon would best fit in a division where the travel would not be as extensive and that regional opponents including Emery and North Sanpete could be possible division schools.
Some of the issues that the UHSAA board had to include within their decision included limiting the travel some schools must face, preserving competitive regions, keeping rivalries alive and balancing out the number of schools in each region.
With the new changes in place, Bean said while it's not perfect, it is a good decision for Carbon High.
"Nothing's perfect, but we're about as happy as we can be," Bean said. "We've been moved around a lot with each realignment. We've been all over the place."
Bean said he was a proponent of using six classifications for not just football, but all sports. The earlier proposed realignment ideas would have seen Carbon High travel extensively up north. Now the longest ride facing the football team would be a game at Morgan High School.
Throughout the process Bean said he felt UHSAA did a good job listening to the concerns facing smaller schools including Carbon High.
"I thought they listened to some very common sense solutions during the discussion on realignment," Bean explained.
While one thought thrown around would have seen Carbon High dropping down to 2A in some sports, Blanc said that was never an idea discussed among coaches and representatives at the high school.
"I don't think we really had any consideration of looking to have the football team drop down to 2A," Blanc said.
Blanc said the new opponents in the 3A North region should provide a bit of excitement for the team as they get prepared over the next eight months.
"This is probably the best realignment choice for us. We've got the common rivalry with Emery High again, the region should be very competitive and travel wise it's not too bad," he explained.
The first tentative region game Carbon High could play may be against Emery High in mid-September, Blanc said.
For all sports other than football, the Dinos will still call Region 12 home. Carbon has been placed with three familiar schools including Juab, North Sanpete, Payson and newcomer to 3A, Richfield.