What District Scheduling Means for the Scouts


Image courtesy of the DailyNorthShore.

Bobby Winebrenner

On Tuesday afternoon, the Illinois High School Association announced the results of its referendum surrounding new district scheduling for football. The decision has sent coaches, players, and even Twitter into a whirlwind, buzzing over what the decision means. The decision passed by means of a 324-307 vote and will be enacted in 2021. For some of us, the decision means nothing as we’ll be proud alums of Lake Forest; for others, the decision means no more North Suburban Conference when it comes to the gridiron.

Scheduling will be by class and location, meaning eight or nine schools will be entwined in a new district with a week or two open to non-district scheduling. Based on record, the top four teams in each district will qualify for the playoffs; the postseason will remain class-based and Lake Forest will still compete in class 6A.

Instead of seeing Stevenson, Libertyville, Lake Zurich, etc., Illinois football guru Steve Soucie of the Northwest Herald forecasts a Scouts’ schedule consisting of Antioch, Deerfield, Vernon Hills, Grayslake Central & North, Wauconda, and Lakes. If the Scouts would like to see their traditional rivals again, they’d have to schedule them through the minimal non-conference portion. The decision has many Lake Forest football fans upset, including Head Coach Chuck Spagnoli.

Prior to the vote, Spagnoli was consulted and had a discussion with athletic director Tim Burkhalter. “I am not in favor of it. I think it is sad those rivalries may not continue,” said the long- tenured coach.

However, many expect the weaker competition to result in auspicious playoff seeding. Due to not having to regularly square off against the 8A giants in Warren and Stevenson anymore, the Scouts are expected to rack up a nicer win total along the way. “I am hoping it will help us in postseason play; however, I won’t know until our regular season schedule is officially announced,” said Spagnoli. With that though, comes likely a weaker strength of schedule and the possible absence of the battle-tested Scouts.

Many players are not in full support of the decision; senior defensive back Eddie Scheidler disappointingly commented, “It’s too bad the younger guys won’t be consistently partaking in the traditional rivalries we know and love. While it might turn out better when it comes to seeding, I think they’ll miss not seeing the same type of competitors I was able to.”

When asked about how he expects his players to respond to the fresh opponents and new technicalities, Spagnoli’s optimistic. “I am sure our players will respond in the most favorable way possible. They always do!”