ROCHELLE — The Interstate 8 Conference and Kishwaukee River Conference will come together for the 2021-22 IHSA football season. The 14-school conglomerate will be split into two groups, each containing seven schools based on enrollment and geographical location.
Group A will feature Harvard, Johnsburg, Marengo, Plano, Richmond-Burton, Rochelle and Sandwich. Group B will include Kaneland, LaSalle-Peru, Morris, Ottawa, Sycamore, Woodstock and Woodstock North. Teams will play seven intraconference games during the 2021-22 season including six games within each group and one game against an opponent from the other group. The first two weeks of the nine-game season will be played against nonconference opponents.
“A couple of the athletic directors from the KRC and the Interstate 8 discussed combining in order to help alleviate scheduling concerns because the KRC only has six schools,” RTHS athletic director Richard Harvey said. “The combination gives us two divisions with similar enrollment sizes and that will help some of the smaller schools be able to compete better.”
Principals from the Interstate 8 and Kishwaukee River Conferences voted on the measure Thursday. Although All-Conference athletes will be determined by the group each school plays in, Harvey said athletic directors are working through how conference champions will be determined. If the new union moves to recognize division champions, Harvey said the IHSA will still recognize division winners as conference champions, which earn automatic playoff bids.
“There was some discussion about incorporating dance and cheer championships into this format to alleviate some of the judging costs,” Harvey said. “Some of the smaller sports like bowling were also discussed, but we’re not proceeding with either of those options at this time.”
The new agreement will align Rochelle with familiar rivals like Plano and Sandwich as well as nonconference foes such as Johnsburg, who the Hubs have faced during both the regular season and postseason in recent years. Harvey said the agreement will allow Rochelle to continue having a highly competitive schedule for the upcoming football season.
“Richmond-Burton and Marengo have been to the semifinals recently,” Harvey said. “We’re looking forward to that and we need to make sure we keep our competitive edge.”