The 2016 High School Football season is upon us as teams began camp all around the State. The landscape of High School Football is quite different from just 12 months ago. New leagues have sprung up, old leagues are gone, teams have moved ending old traditions and rivalries while no doubt waiting for new ones to be created.
The Eli Sports Network coverage area ranges from Kent to Vancouver and there has been a ton of changes. We have listed the new leagues and teams below. We are also expanding our coverage and adding a new ESN channel plus will have some specialty programming.
The big story on our radar is the final season for the State’s Winningest Football Coach Tumwater’s Sid Otton. Otton confirmed he will be retiring after the 2016 season. We have created a special Tumwater Football page for this historical season. We will be broadcasting all of the T-Bird games we’re allowed to this season including any run to the post-season.
We have added a Thursday night North Puget Sound League line-up as well. 10 games featuring the Auburn, Kent, Federal Way and Kennedy Catholic schools. We will continue to have a strong presence south in the Vancouver area with a strong emphasis on the GSHL 4A and 3A. We are hoping to soon add another channel down south to pick up more of the GSHL 2A and the 1A Trico.
Here are the new leagues and we’ve added a bit of commentary to each:
North Puget Sound League 4A
The NPSL is brand new and takes teams from the SPSL and kills the SeaMount League. It is split into 2 divisions the Olympic and Cascade divisions. There are a total of 16 teams with 8 in each division. In the Olympic it features all 4 Federal Way schools, the 3 Auburn schools and Enumclaw. In the Cascadem it’s the 4 Kent schools with Mount Rainier, Tahoma, Hazen and Kennedy Catholic.
Several schools opted up to form this league and gives each of them a solid 7 game league schedule and enough wiggle room for 2 non-league games. The major rivalries have stayed in place. Hazen lost their cross district rival Renton in league contests but will play non-league games. Renton dropped to 2A and will play in the SPSL 2A.
Here is the NPSL:
Olympic Division Cascade Division
Auburn-Mountainview Kennedy Catholic
Federal Way Kentwood
Thomas Jefferson Mount Rainier
Todd Beamer Tahoma
South Puget Sound League 4A
The SPSL 4A lost half of their schools and added some new ones but the league looks to be solid as a rock. Gone are the Northern teams now in the NPSL. The SPSL also lost it’s 3A level due to several shifts in schools. The Narrows League completely disbanded dropping both their 4A and 3A leagues. Most of those teams are now in the SPSL 4A or either the new Pierce County 3A league or the South Sound Conference.
The SPSL 4A retains the 3 Puyallup schools, Curtis and Graham-Kapowsin. Newcomers include former Narrow’s league teams Olympia, Bellarmine Prep and South Kitsap and former SPSL 3A Sumner. The Spartans have moved rapidly from 2A just 3 years ago to 3A the last 2 seasons all the way to 4A. Here is the SPSL 4A:
Greater St. Helens League 4A
The Greater St Helens League shrunk by 2 and now are just a 5 team league. Gone are Evergreen (Van) and Mountain View. The big rivalry stays intact though with Camas and Union still battling for GSHL 4A supremacy. Here is the GSHL 4A:
Greater St Helens League 3A
The GSHL was nearly defunct but suddenly sprang back to life with 6 teams. At one point this past winter the GSHL 3A was down to 1 team Kelso with the remaining teams opting up to 4A or dropping to 2A. What wasn’t expected was the large number of teams that shifted up and down between 4A and 3A especially in the Seattle area that ultimately dropped Evergreen and Mountain View to 3A and Hudson’s Bay traded places with Columbia River going from 2A to 3A. Here is the new and more competitive GSHL 3A.
Pierce County League 3A
The Pierce County League came to life when the Tacoma schools in the Narrows league were getting left behind. The PCL ended up being made up of schools from the Narrows and the now defunct SPSL 3A league. Half of the 8 teams are all Tacoma schools including Stadium who is dropping down from 4A to 3A. The PCL did lose Foss who has dropped to 2A and will play in the SPSL 2A.
The Tacoma schools will have their hands full coming from the schools coming from the SPSL 3A Lakes, Bonney Lake, Bethel and Spanaway Lake. The PCL will line up nicely with the new SSC and finding non-league games should be easy between these 2 leagues.
Here is the new Pierce County League:
South Sound Conference 3A
The South Sound Conference emerged from the ashes of the Narrows and SPSL 3A leagues along with Gig Harbor dropping down from the Narrows 4A. The league continues some long time rivalries including Gig Harbor and Peninsula along with North Thurston and Timberline. One long time rivalry has been knocked out at least for football and that is Capital vs their cross district rival Olympia. The Cougars and Bears had played in the annual Spaghetti Bowl for decades but will not this season. Here is the new South Sound Conference:
The Evergreen Conference 2A
The Evco 2A was only 4 teams for the past 2 seasons but should have been at 6. But Aberdeen and Rochester both chose to play in the Evco 1A as 2A schools. The decision would be one they regretted and came down to trying to avoid playing a couple of powerhouse football programs in Tumwater and WF West.
After putting all their other teams at huge disadvantages in trying to qualify for post season the 2 schools reversed course and now will play in the Evco 2A. Rochester still won’t play Tumwater in football, instead they will take a forfeit but play another team they believe they can compete with while re-building their program. So the new Evco 2A will allow for a much better league with 6 teams instead of just 4. Here is the Evergreen 2A Conference:
Greater St Helens League 2A
The GSHL 2A league maintained their 7 members but did have some switching. Columbia River is the new kid on the block as they switched places with Hudson’s Bay who moved up to 3A and CR was under the 2A line and decided to play at that level instead of opting up and staying at the GSHL 3A level. The rest of the league stayed intact and looks to be another extremely competitive league in 2016. Here is the GSHL 2A League:
South Puget Sound League 2A
The SPSL 2A has grown nearly doubling in size as they take in castaways from the former SeaMount League and picking up Eatonville who got pushed back to the 2A level after playing in the 1A Evergreen League the last 2 seasons. The league has 16 teams and features 2 8-team divisions the Sound and the Mountain. The teams are well spread out with teams from Renton to Lacey. The former SPSL and SeaMount teams have been mixed together in both divisions giving each side some interesting commutes. Here is the new SPSL 2A:
Mountain Division Sound Division
Evergreen (Sea) Clover Park
Franklin Pierce Renton
Lindbergh River Ridge
White River Tyee
Evergreen Conference 1A
The Evco 1A lost 1 member, Eatonville when they had to move up to 2A and then Aberdeen and Rochester decided to go and play in the Evco 2A so for league purposes they took a big hit dropping from 8 to 5 teams. Even though the league will be trimmer the rivalries between Hoquiam, Montesano and Elma remain strong while Tenino and Forks keep it a solid league. Here is the new Evco 1A:
The Trico 1A league out of SW Washington lost another member this season with Kalama dropping to the 2B ranks and the league is down to 6. The football league will have only 5 though and Seton Catholic will combine their team with King’s Way. The league is well spread out with Castle Rock to the north all the way to White Salmon along the Columbia River. Here is the Trico 1A:
Columbia (White Salmon)
The Pacific 2B has morphed into a Super Conference with 19 schools and 3 divisions, 2 with 6 teams and 1 with 7. The Pac 2B stretches from Ilwaco down in the SW corner of the state up to North Beach in Ocean Shores over to Lakewood where Life Christian calls home up to Morton-White Pass down to Kalama and everywhere in between. This is going to be a crazy league to try and keep tabs on but should bring tons of competition. Here is the new Pacific 2B Conference:
Mountain Division Coastal Division River Division
Adna Ilwaco Kalama
Chief Leschi North Beach Mossyrock
Life Christian Ocosta Toledo
Morton-White Pass Raymond Toutle Lake
Napavine South Bend Wahkiakum
Onalaska Willapa Valley-Pe Ell Winlock