Every two years the football coaches of each conference meet to decide the schedule for the next two year cycle. Hopefully, in 2014 more thought will be put into the creation of the 3-4A conference schedule.
Two things that are troublesome about the current schedule is that Highland starts the season with three straight road games, and Brookland has three straight home games. This will be the opposite next season. No team should have to play away from home three straight weeks.
"This is the same schedule as last year, but Brookland hadn't played, so it's the first time we've had to face three road trips in a row." said Rebel Head Coach Spencer Hill. "Our biggest concern is, I hate to say, losing our fan base. It's hard for a home crowd to go four weeks between home games."
Also, Highland and Valley View end this season with two home games, while Pocahontas and Brookland play their last two games on the road. Once again, next season will be the opposite scenario. Football season is more than just football. It's also contains homecoming, senior night, and marching band's preparing for their yearend contests. If senior night is the third to last game, which is unfortunate in itself, when is homecoming? Homecoming is better in the middle to late part of the season.
"Senior night is special." explained Hill. "For the parents. Lot of out of town people come in, and you hate to do that where you have two more weeks to play."
In the 3-4A conference, putting a schedule together means considering the amount of travelling required. Gosnell needs special consideration, because one-way travel to all of its opponents adds up to about 550 miles. Highland is second with 487 miles, and Cave City third at around 476. It seems reasonable that Gosnell shouldn't have to travel to Cave City and Highland in the same season. Luckily, they don't have to in this cycle. But Highland and Cave City shouldn't have to travel to Gosnell and Trumann in the same season, but both will do that once during the next two years; Cave City this season and Highland in 2013.
In this cycle, the schedule was not reformed. Cave City was just put into Osceola's spot, which was reclassified to the 3A. Those two teams are on opposite sides of Northeast Arkansas. So Cave City lost any consideration that went into Osceola's placement two years ago.
It's possible that in the next cycle, Valley View will have grown into a 5A school, which has been rumored for a couple of cycles now. The new rumor, thanks to the new hospital, is Brookland will outgrow of the 4A before long and will also move to 5A.
The Arkansas Activities Association will announce the new classifications sometime in early 2014 for the 2014-2016 cycle. Hopefully, each coach. of what will be the new 3-4A Conference, will take pen to paper, do a little figuring, and come up with a reasonable schedule that considers traveling miles for teams on the outskirt, no more than two road or home games in a row, and requires all teams to play a home and away game in their last two games.