Chip Shots: Shakeups Loom in Class 6A, 5A Football

February 10, 2024 at 8:00 a.m.


Recent Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) enrollment indicates Warsaw will organically land in IHSAA Football Class 5A in the 2024 football season.
The IDOE enrollment numbers reported in the Excel file on its website do not include private schools, but there are no private schools in the IHSAA that come close to Class 5A and Class 6A school enrollment figures.
The Tournament Success Factor (TSF) leap by defending 5A state grid champion Fort Wayne Snider, and Indianapolis Cathedral’s sufficiently attained 3-point, two-year TSF total will bump two schools out of the largest enrollment class.
Warsaw wasn’t even among the 32 largest schools. Warsaw Community High School’s IDOE enrollment of 2,108 based on yesterday’s site query puts the county’s and the Northern Lakes Conference’s largest school at 33rd in the state among IHSAA member schools.
32 teams will occupy each of the top two enrollment classes for football.
The IDOE data will be, or might have already been, released to the IHSAA, but the association has much work to do before officially releasing their classifications among all sports.
The IHSAA has its work cut out for them, and they understandably need the time to successfully complete a novel approach to alignment among several sports where enrollment classes will be spread among four tranches.
We’ll see something about all those sports in the spring.
Enrollment for Goshen (2,006 students), and Concord (1,730) experienced the most notable increases.
Wawasee’s enrollment did not dip enough to become the NLC’s smallest school, eeking out NorthWood 895-869. This is the first year in a long time, however, the Northern Kosciusko County school housed less than 900 high school students.
Class 4A will see its share of shakeups from Chatard climbing back in from 3A, and Mishawaka will join the 4A ranks (from 5A) this year. The Cavemen will be the eighth largest school in their new class.
Football at Classes 5A and 6A is not currently official, but the picture is clear.
Valparaiso has enough students to naturally land in Class 6A, but they will join the Tigers in 5A due to the aforementioned TSF points Snider and Cathedral earned.
Will the 5A shift for Warsaw football make life easier? There are plenty of good football teams in the Class 5A North grouping to maintain the meatgrinder status seen in recent seasons.
Let’s have fun speculating the alignment of the second largest enrollment class, and the Tigers’ new-found enrollment home, Class 5A.
Sectional 9 – Hammond Central, Hammond Morton, Merrillville, Munster
Sectional 10 – Chesterton, LaPorte, Michigan City, Valparaiso
Sectional 11 – Concord, Goshen, South Bend Adams, Warsaw
Sectional 12 – Anderson, Fort Wayne North Side, Lafayette Jefferson, McCutcheon
There is so much familiarity within each sectional, it’s probable there will be some revenge games. Mishawaka, as mentioned earlier, moves to 4A, but if they were in 5A they would be in the “NLC tournament” known as Sectional 10.
Another nice thing about 5A, unlike 6A, Indianapolis area schools will not encroach the North.
There are two sectionals in this enrollment class completely full of central time zone schools.
Some of my hunches from earlier columns appear to be correct. Goshen’s enrollment eclipsed 2,000 students, and Lafayette Jefferson’s enrollment trended downward enough to be overtaken in Class 6A by West Lafayette Harrison.
Lett’s look at the South, and it’s TSF leaper, two-time state champion in Class 4A, East Central.
Sectional 13 – Decatur Central, Kokomo, Plainfield, Whiteland
Sectional 14 – Castle, Evansville North, Terre Haute North, Terre Haute South
Sectional 15 – Bloomington, North, Bloomington South, Columbus East, Franklin Community
Sectional 16 – East Central, Floyd Central, New Albany, Seymour
The South Sectionals will also be full of revenge game opportunities. If this alignment materializes, East Central might have a shot at jumping to Class 6A.
East Central – a program tucked along Interstate 74 – reloads, and if they capture a regional title among the competition in Sectionals 15 and 16, they’ll score two TSF points to go along with 2023’s four TSF points.
The IHSAA will use a rolling total of TSF points hereafter where programs can total six TSF points to move up, or three TSF points to stay in their current class. East Central already has four points from its 2023 state football title.
My projections are based on the fact school districts with more than one high school in the same class must also play in the same sectional. This is why it would make sense to have Terre Haute – a West-Central school – travel almost due South to the Pocket to play in Sectional 14 and leave Bloomington in Sectional 15 with other nearby Southern schools.
Finally, in Class 6A, there is talk about a proposed 1-16 seeding system for the North and the South regions, so projecting sectionals there – if this proposal passes – would be a moot point.
The driver of this proposal is the current state of Class 6A. 22 of the 32 schools are “true South” schools with only two of those schools in the South outside of the Indianapolis Metropolitan area (Columbus North, Jeffersonville).
The seeding would mitigate the North’s lament about having almost half of its sectional fields occupied by Indy suburban schools and mitigate the South’s lament of cannibalization among what they feel are teams eliminated early who are stronger than Northern schools.
I always look forward to this time of year, but it looks like I’ll have to wait nearly three months to see all the other unprecedented alignments and classifications. I’ll stay occupied, nonetheless, until the flora blooms.

Recent Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) enrollment indicates Warsaw will organically land in IHSAA Football Class 5A in the 2024 football season.
The IDOE enrollment numbers reported in the Excel file on its website do not include private schools, but there are no private schools in the IHSAA that come close to Class 5A and Class 6A school enrollment figures.
The Tournament Success Factor (TSF) leap by defending 5A state grid champion Fort Wayne Snider, and Indianapolis Cathedral’s sufficiently attained 3-point, two-year TSF total will bump two schools out of the largest enrollment class.
Warsaw wasn’t even among the 32 largest schools. Warsaw Community High School’s IDOE enrollment of 2,108 based on yesterday’s site query puts the county’s and the Northern Lakes Conference’s largest school at 33rd in the state among IHSAA member schools.
32 teams will occupy each of the top two enrollment classes for football.
The IDOE data will be, or might have already been, released to the IHSAA, but the association has much work to do before officially releasing their classifications among all sports.
The IHSAA has its work cut out for them, and they understandably need the time to successfully complete a novel approach to alignment among several sports where enrollment classes will be spread among four tranches.
We’ll see something about all those sports in the spring.
Enrollment for Goshen (2,006 students), and Concord (1,730) experienced the most notable increases.
Wawasee’s enrollment did not dip enough to become the NLC’s smallest school, eeking out NorthWood 895-869. This is the first year in a long time, however, the Northern Kosciusko County school housed less than 900 high school students.
Class 4A will see its share of shakeups from Chatard climbing back in from 3A, and Mishawaka will join the 4A ranks (from 5A) this year. The Cavemen will be the eighth largest school in their new class.
Football at Classes 5A and 6A is not currently official, but the picture is clear.
Valparaiso has enough students to naturally land in Class 6A, but they will join the Tigers in 5A due to the aforementioned TSF points Snider and Cathedral earned.
Will the 5A shift for Warsaw football make life easier? There are plenty of good football teams in the Class 5A North grouping to maintain the meatgrinder status seen in recent seasons.
Let’s have fun speculating the alignment of the second largest enrollment class, and the Tigers’ new-found enrollment home, Class 5A.
Sectional 9 – Hammond Central, Hammond Morton, Merrillville, Munster
Sectional 10 – Chesterton, LaPorte, Michigan City, Valparaiso
Sectional 11 – Concord, Goshen, South Bend Adams, Warsaw
Sectional 12 – Anderson, Fort Wayne North Side, Lafayette Jefferson, McCutcheon
There is so much familiarity within each sectional, it’s probable there will be some revenge games. Mishawaka, as mentioned earlier, moves to 4A, but if they were in 5A they would be in the “NLC tournament” known as Sectional 10.
Another nice thing about 5A, unlike 6A, Indianapolis area schools will not encroach the North.
There are two sectionals in this enrollment class completely full of central time zone schools.
Some of my hunches from earlier columns appear to be correct. Goshen’s enrollment eclipsed 2,000 students, and Lafayette Jefferson’s enrollment trended downward enough to be overtaken in Class 6A by West Lafayette Harrison.
Lett’s look at the South, and it’s TSF leaper, two-time state champion in Class 4A, East Central.
Sectional 13 – Decatur Central, Kokomo, Plainfield, Whiteland
Sectional 14 – Castle, Evansville North, Terre Haute North, Terre Haute South
Sectional 15 – Bloomington, North, Bloomington South, Columbus East, Franklin Community
Sectional 16 – East Central, Floyd Central, New Albany, Seymour
The South Sectionals will also be full of revenge game opportunities. If this alignment materializes, East Central might have a shot at jumping to Class 6A.
East Central – a program tucked along Interstate 74 – reloads, and if they capture a regional title among the competition in Sectionals 15 and 16, they’ll score two TSF points to go along with 2023’s four TSF points.
The IHSAA will use a rolling total of TSF points hereafter where programs can total six TSF points to move up, or three TSF points to stay in their current class. East Central already has four points from its 2023 state football title.
My projections are based on the fact school districts with more than one high school in the same class must also play in the same sectional. This is why it would make sense to have Terre Haute – a West-Central school – travel almost due South to the Pocket to play in Sectional 14 and leave Bloomington in Sectional 15 with other nearby Southern schools.
Finally, in Class 6A, there is talk about a proposed 1-16 seeding system for the North and the South regions, so projecting sectionals there – if this proposal passes – would be a moot point.
The driver of this proposal is the current state of Class 6A. 22 of the 32 schools are “true South” schools with only two of those schools in the South outside of the Indianapolis Metropolitan area (Columbus North, Jeffersonville).
The seeding would mitigate the North’s lament about having almost half of its sectional fields occupied by Indy suburban schools and mitigate the South’s lament of cannibalization among what they feel are teams eliminated early who are stronger than Northern schools.
I always look forward to this time of year, but it looks like I’ll have to wait nearly three months to see all the other unprecedented alignments and classifications. I’ll stay occupied, nonetheless, until the flora blooms.

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