Redhawk football squad to compete in Division 2 next fall11/26/08

Nov. 26, 2008

By Mal Boright

Observer correspondent

If the Vermont Principals’ Association approves the recommendation of the Vermont Interscholastic Football League coaches and athletic directors, Champlain Valley Union High will bid farewell to gridiron foes Bellows Free Academy of Fairfax, Oxbow High and Winooski High, and say hello to such powers as Middlebury High, Rice Memorial High and U-32.


    Courtesy photo by Terri Zittritsch
Champlain Valley Union High quarterback Konnor Fleming drops back to pass against Division 2 opponent North Country Union. The Redhawks, which had played in Division 3, will move up to Division 2 next season.

The VIFL, in its biennial evaluation of its three divisions, voted at a meeting last week to boot CVU from its present Division 3 up to Division 2 over the objections of head coach Jim Provost.

“We are in Division 2,” Provost said this week, having fought the good fight and lost. “We are now fine with it. The move is two years ahead of schedule but the kids are excited.”

Provost originally felt that the Redhawks, even with a much higher boy enrollment then other schools in Division 3, had not yet shown an ability to dominate the division. The Redhawks had made the playoffs as a fourth and final seed in two of their four years in competition.

The formula that the organization uses to establish its three divisions is based on number of boys playing football at the school, its total boy enrollment and number of victories in the past four years.

CVU’s enrollment of 680 boys and 82 in football pads this past season apparently was the determining factor in swinging votes against its proposal to spend another two years in the lower division, where Provost said it has won 41 percent of its games.

Apparently there is no consideration of a school’s traditions. Middlebury, which is moving down from Division 1, has a respected history in football going back decades.

CVU’s fall tradition is rich and successful — in soccer and cross country. Football next fall will enter its fifth season as a varsity sport where the future looks bright, the numbers strong, but the competitive edge still in development.

“We are a fledgling program and are still trying to get our feet under us,” Provost said. “Two more years would have given us more of an opportunity to benefit from our youth program.”

The veteran coach sees the big difference between the two divisions as one of balance.

“From top to bottom there is not a weak team in Division 2,” he said.

Other prospective intra-division opponents include Mount Mansfield Union, Colchester High, Milton High, Lyndon Institute and North Country Union.

Provost noted that CVU is 0-6 thus far in games against Division 2 teams.

“I hope this inspires the kids,” Provost concluded. “We have to get better and more physically mature as a team.”

Provost said the commitments have been made by the boosters and the school.

“Now we need the commitment from the kids,” he said.