O'Gorman high school has been flirting with the idea of playing in the new 11AAA football class and Tuesday the Knights made it official. O'G will not be staying in 11AA but will instead petition up so they can play against traditional city rivals in the postseason. While the decision does create some ripple effects, the O'Gorman faithful agree it's where they belong.
Whether you like it or not, the addition of a seventh football class in South Dakota is coming, and O'Gorman is letting the state know, despite its smaller enrollment, it prefers to play against the biggest and best.
"So, the decision is do you want to stay there or do you want to move to AAA? The kids really want to move to AAA. There was overwhelming support for that," O'Gorman head football coach and Athletic Director Steve Kueter said. "These are the teams we play. Washington, Lincoln, and Roosevelt... These are the teams we play all the time at every level at every sport. So we just didn't see a situation where we wouldn't continue doing that."
Tuesday's announcement didn't come as a big surprise but there was one big sticking point that was cause for hesitation. With no power points in AAA and AA now, the Knights, who play a tougher regular season schedule compared to some other big schools, are at a disadvantage when it comes to playoff seeding.
"That was a huge issue for us. We know what happened. Basically, the reason they threw out the power points was to appease the ESD so they would agree to a schedule that didn't have them playing everybody. It was a compromise, a compromise we did not agree with at the time and do not agree with right now. I think it puts us in a very difficult situation but it was part of the decision and we bought that so we're going to have to live with that," Kueter said.
Now that O'Gorman is moving up, the door swings wide open for a 11AAA school to abandon ship. Brandon Valley will get first crack at sliding down to AA. If they pass, Watertown can make the move. If they refuse, Aberdeen Central will have a decision to make.
"I know what our community thought. Every one of those are going to have to make their own decision. I really have some feelings that I think I know where they're going to go. There's a good chance that nobody will move down and that we will have nine in AAA which would be great," Kueter said.
Brandon Valley, the smallest school in 11AAA not counting O'Gorman, is expected to discuss moving down in a school board meeting on Monday.