Spencer/Columbus Catholic and Regis have butted heads for control of the Cloverbelt for several years, but won't face off this year
A process that spanned several years will finally come to fruition this fall with a statewide football conference realignment that will move approximately 15% of teams to new leagues. This will create some exciting new rivalries and provide fans with match-ups, whether conference or non-conference, that we have never seen before. However, it will also mean some rivalries will come to an end, for now at least.
Below are some of the games we'll miss this year, but hopefully can and will return at some point in the future.
Janesville Craig vs. Beloit Memorial -- With Janesville Craig and Janesville Parker moving out of the Big Eight, where they were charter members way back in 1930, it is a significant change on our southern border. Parker will still play Beloit in a non-conference game, but Craig will not. Craig is the senior Janesville school, and was considered Janesville High School until 1967, when Parker opened. Janesville and Beloit first played high school football in 1895, a streak that has continued ever since.
Big Foot vs. Brodhead/Juda -- These teams had bigger rivals for many years, but in the last couple decades, this one has really heated up. For years they were two of the most consistent programs in the Rock Valley Conference, with Big Foot qualifying for 15 playoff appearances since 2003, while Brodhead/Juda had a run of 25 straight appearances from 1992 to 2016. Each has made multiple state finals runs in the last decade-and-a-half to go with other deep playoff trips. After both teams missed the playoffs in 2017 and 2018, they each qualified last year, when Brodhead/Juda won their regular season matchup 40-19. Big Foot moves to the Capitol this year, while Brodhead/Juda joins the SWC.
Catholic Memorial vs. the Classic Eight -- Despite an enrollment well below many of the other teams in the league, Catholic Memorial competed quite well in one of the state's toughest leagues. Games against Arrowhead, Waukesha West, Kettle Moraine, Mukwonago, and more recently Muskego prepared the Crusaders very well for the postseason, when they'd drop down to Division 3, and all the way to Division 4 last season.
Colby vs. Stanley-Boyd -- These teams competed against each other in some fashion for decades as members of the Cloverbelt Conference, but Colby's move to the Marawood has ended that. During their run in the Cloverbelt, Stanley-Boyd advanced to six state championship games under coaches Gene Hatfield, Jim Brinker, and Jeff Koenig. Colby made the state finals five times, first under Duane Teska and the last four under Jeff Rosemeyer. Other Cloverbelt rivalries like Fall Creek vs. Altoona, Regis vs. Stanley-Boyd, and others are also impacted. While Cadott moved out of the Cloverbelt, the Hornets are keeping alive their rivalry with Stanley-Boyd via a non-conference game, extending a run of playing at least once every year since 1950.
Spencer/Columbus Catholic vs. Regis -- Spencer/Columbus Catholic's ascension as a program under Jason Gorst put these teams in a position to frequently battle towards the top of the Cloverbelt Conference. Regis got the better of last year's matchup, winning 36-0 en route to an unbeaten regular season and Division 6 runner-up finish.
Iola-Scandinavia vs. Manawa -- Manawa moved from the CWC-Large to the CWC-Small for a couple years, but these teams have met many times over the years, developing a nice little rivalry. However, it is Iola-Scandinavia's turn to move from the Large to the Small division of the Central Wisconsin Conference. Iola-Scandinvia will also lose its more recent rivalry series with Amherst.
Stratford vs. Marathon -- Stratford's move from the Marawood to the CWC-Large had the potential to throw a wrench in a number of long-standing rivalries. While the Tigers scheduled a non-conference game against Edgar to keep the biggest rivalry going, it didn't work to play against Marathon. While Edgar and Stratford have dominated the Marawood for decades, Marathon was able to put some quality teams on the field as well, and in 2015 won an outright league title, marking the first time that at least one of Edgar or Stratford didn't at least share the title since 1981 (when Marathon also won it outright). Stratford also loses a rivalry with Auburndale that had dated back many years.
Racine Lutheran vs. Racine St. Catherine's -- The teams have spent time towards the top of the Metro Classic Conference for a number of years, and in 2018, each made a state championship game. Last year, Racine Lutheran won the regular season meeting 30-22 in overtime, rallying from a 22-6 deficit at the start of the fourth quarter.
New Holstein vs. Sheboygan Falls -- Played 90 times since the first meeting in 1938, Sheboygan Falls has dominated the series, holding a 60-28-2 advantage after a 38-18 win last season. However, Falls will make the move from Eastern Wisconsin Conference to the East Central this year.
Appleton West vs. Appleton North -- To balance out the leagues, the old Valley Football Association was reformed a bit once again, shifting from three, five-team divisions to two, eight-team divisions. That meant one of the Appleton schools would remain with the bulk of the WVC teams, and West was that team. West was able to schedule Appleton East in a non-conference contest, but it did not work out to schedule Appleton North.
Have any other rivalry contests that won't be on the schedule this year due to realignment? Feel free to send them on to us.
Travis Wilson serves as the WisSports.net General Manager, Football Editor, and contributing writer for other parts of the site. Wilson was selected as part of the Sports 40 Under 40 list by Coach & AD Magazine and the National High School Athletic Coaches Association for 2019. The Wisconsin Football Coaches Association (WFCA) named Travis the 2015 recipient of the Dave McClain Distinguished Service Award. He currently serves on the WFCA Executive Board as the Website and Communications Director and is a member of the Executive Board of the Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association. A graduate of Richland Center High School and Mount Mercy College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Travis was a three-sport athlete in high school (football, baseball, basketball) and currently resides in Reedsburg. You can follow him on Twitter at @travisWSN.
For the latest and most up to date football news and recruiting information, follow Travis on Twitter @travisWSN. Email story ideas, recruiting info, etc. to Travis at travis(at)wissports.net.