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Major changes coming to Nebraska high school football classifications in 2018

The Nebraska Schools Activities Association released the official football classifications Monday for the next two years, which is bringing major changes to many classes in western Nebraska.

The new classification system, which will be in place for the 2018 and 2019 football seasons, is based on boy only enrollment at schools and sets a minimum and maximum enrollment number per class.

Class A, which is classified as boys only enrollment of 425 or more, now has 32 teams, up four from last year. North Platte is the smallest Class A school, with an enrollment of 445.

Class B, which is enrollment between 160 and 424, has 23 teams in the field, down nine from last year. In western Nebraska, Scottsbluff, Gering, and Alliance will remain in Class B, but Sidney will fall to Class C1. District assignments have not been set, but there will be four districts (one with 5 teams and 3 with 6 teams). One of the teams, South Sioux City, opted to drop down to Class B from Class A, so will be ineligible for the playoffs for the next two seasons.

In Class C1, there are 42 teams with enrollment between 70 and 159. Sidney is one of the largest Class C1 schools in the state. Mitchell, Chadron, and Ogallala remain in Class C1. But, Gordon-Rushville will be in Class C2.

Class C2, with enrollment of 69 and below, features 39 teams, including two that have opted down a class and will be ineligible for the two seasons. Gordon-Rushville is a newcomer, along with Bridgeport. Bayard and Kimball are no longer in Class C2, and will play 8-man football. Valentine, who was in the district with the western Nebraska teams last year, is now in Class C1.

Classes D1 and D2 remain split in half. Kimball and Perkins County, along with five other schools, opted down to Class D1 and will be ineligible for playoffs for the next season, while Hemingford and Morrill remain in Class D1, but have set out their two-year ineligibility already and are fully eligible for playoffs. Bayard is also a new member in Class D1 as a regular member and will be eligible for the playoffs.

Class D2 features a new cooperative in football, as Leyton and Banner County will combine squads to play 8-man football in Class D2. Otherwise, the class remains relatively unchanged in western Nebraska, with Garden County and Mullen the only other western Nebraska teams.

The NSAA also is in charge of 6-man football this year, which will have 31 teams this year, including several western Nebraska teams. Crawford, Creek Valley, Hyannis, Potter-Dix, Hay Springs, Minatare, Sioux County, and South Platte are all in the 6-man field. Of note, Sioux County is the smallest non-cooperative boys only enrollment in the state with just 8 boys in grades 9-12.

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