As it prepares to join the Central Buckeye Conference next season, Jonathan Alder High School hopes its football playoff game against Kenton Ridge is a sign of things to come.
Well, except for that final score.
Jonathan Alder fell to Kenton Ridge 33-28 in a Division IV regional quarterfinal thriller in Plain City last fall.
“We played Kenton Ridge in the first round of the playoffs and it was a really, really good experience,” Jonathan Alder principal Mike Aurin said. “It was a great atmosphere. The bands played together. Our conversation was this would be a really cool experience for us to have. I can’t necessarily say that was the driving force, but for us it gave us a glimpse of what (being in the CBC) could look like.”
Jonathan Alder, currently in the Mid Ohio Athletic Conference, made the move to the CBC official with a unanimous vote at Monday’s school board meeting.
The move will bring the CBC to 10 schools for the 2017-18 school year. The league is still in discussions to add two additional teams following the loss of Stebbins and Tippecanoe to the Greater Western Ohio Conference and Greenon to the Ohio Heritage Conference.
This is the last season in the CBC for Stebbins and Tipp. Greenon remains for one more season.
“We’re excited,” said CBC commissioner Mike Ludlow. “They’re very competitive. A nice community and not too far away. I think it’s a real good fit.”
The CBC approached Jonathan Alder about joining the CBC a year ago but the timing wasn’t right. With shifts in the MOAC, Jonathan Alder’s situation changed.
“We were independent before that … and being independent was not good for our kids and our programs,” Aurin said. “Being in a stable league that matches our kids and our community was a real driving force.”
Starting in 2017, Jonathan Alder will join Bellefontaine, Kenton Ridge, Shawnee and Tecumseh in the Kenton Trail Division. The Mad River Division will consist of Benjamin Logan, Graham, Indian Lake, Northwestern and Urbana.
This fall, Urbana will play in the Kenton Trail to make two five-team divisions before returning to the Mad River in 2017.
“We’re grateful to the MOAC for the opportunity and to be part of the league, but the CBC has been really gracious, informative and made us feel they wanted us to be part of the league,” Aurin said. “The quality of the programs and how we fit, the distance between the programs … all came together. It was the right time.”
Ludlow said the CBC athletic directors are scheduled to meet Tuesday to discuss further expansion.
“A lot could happen in the next two weeks,” he said. “There are two conferences with a lot of people trying to evaluate their situations.”
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