NEW BETHLEHEM, Pa. (EYT/D9) — The PIAA released the new classifications for teams in all sports Tuesday for the next two-year cycle.
One of the football teams listed as moving up a class due to the Competition Formula process was Redbank Valley, from Class A to Class 2A.
Well, not so fast.
Redbank Valley made the state quarterfinals last year, earning it two competitive balance points.
The Bulldogs’ trip to the state championship game this year earned them four more points in the formula, which triggered PIAA’s cursory look into the number of transfers on the roster. Three transfers and a program is kicked up to the next class.
The PIAA compares rosters from this season to the last two seasons and counts how many new players appear who are either sophomores, juniors or seniors and flags them as transfers.
The PIAA flagged 10 players on the Bulldogs’ roster as transfers.
In fact, though, Redbank had only one — Marquese Gardlock, who came from Farrell two years ago and actually sat out an entire sports season per PIAA rules.
Redbank Valley is appealing and head football coach Blane Gold expects the Bulldogs to remain in Class A when the PIAA learns of the true origins of the nine players in question, who have lived in the district most, if not all, of their lives.
“When they sent us a letter about mid-December informing us we were going to double-A, they said we had 10 transfers on that team,” Gold said. “I told Roddy Hartle, my athletic director, ‘Did someone at the PIAA really take time to type out that we had 10 football transfers?”
The PIAA doesn’t dive deep into the circumstances surrounding the new players. Hartle spent time gathering transcripts for the nine players who were not transfers to show the PIAA.
He also assured District 9 that Redbank would remain in Class A.
“I personally thought it was gonna be a clerical-error-type thing,” Gold said. “I didn’t think they were going to go public with it. But it does appear that, at this point, we have to appeal it the same way Aliquippa and everybody else appeals it.”
That appeal is expected to be heard in a few weeks.
Redbank Valley’s opponent in the Class A championship game, Bishop Guilfoyle, was also bumped up a class.
Redbank was one of 12 football programs in the state that triggered the Competition Formula. The others were Bishop Guilfoyle (1A to 2A), Southern Columbia (2A to 3A), Central Valley (3A to 4A), Wyomissing (3A to 4A), Aliquippa (4A to 5A),
Jersey Shore (4A to 5A), Cathedral Prep (5A to 6A), Lackawanna Trail (2A), Farrell (2A), Imhotep (5A) and Archbishop Wood (6A).
Ironically, Redbank Valley had already added a number of Class 2A schools to its tentative schedule for next season.
The Bulldogs, if the schedule is approved, will play Karns City, Central Clarion, Brookville and Punxsutawney in 2022.
“I think one thing that really showed me was Bishop Guilfoyle was 6-4 during the regular season because they play double-A and triple-A schools,” Gold said. “Even if we go out and battle with Karns City, and even if we lose by two scores, that could help us down the road.
“The only thing I would say about not wanting to move up at this point is because … I wouldn’t want those guys two years from now during their senior year to be impacted by a team two years ago.”