High school football in Section III is set for a fall return for the 2021 season.
After COVID-19 canceled the fall high school football season last year and a shortened spring season was played, the tentative schedule approved by the section’s athletic council has things starting to get back to what looks like a more usual season.
For some teams this will be the first time they strap up the pads in two years. Spring football was an option in Central New York and the Mohawk Valley, but not every program opted in. And, with all the COVID protocols, there wasn’t a postseason.
Back to action
The 2021 season is set to kick off on Friday, Sept. 3, according to the schedule. That is a week later than usual, but the same time the season was set to begin last year. Some teams will play games the first weekend while others may opt for scrimmages.
If teams opt to play a game that first weekend then they will bring their regular season game total up to eight, an increase from the usual seven game schedule.
The ninth week of the season will be the start of playoffs. That is set for Friday, Oct. 29.
A game that is always circled on the schedule is one of the oldest rivalries in high school football: Thomas R. Proctor and Rome Free Academy. That game is set to take place on Friday, Sept. 24 at RFA this season.
That weekend is packed with big games as the Whitesboro Warriors are scheduled take on the New Hartford Spartans and Frankfort-Schuyler is set to travel to Dolgeville to take on the Blue Devils.
There’s a lot of movement along classes in the section for the 2021 season.
Class AA saw a shakeup as West Genesee dropped from AA to A. The switch to class A has re-aligned the divisions in class A. Class A American now consists of Auburn, Cristian Brothers Academy, East Syracuse Minoa, Fayetteville-Manlius, Jamesville-DeWitt and West Genesee and Class A National will consist of Carthage, Central Square, Fulton, Indian River and Whitesboro.
Class B will add Mexico from the independents this year. Class B now has three divisions, North, Central and West. Camden, Mexico and Oneida are in the North division. Central Valley Academy, Chittenango, New Hartford and Syracuse Tech are the Central division and Cortland, Homer, Marcellus and Westhill will play in the West division.
Class C has no new additions, but they did lose Hannibal and Jordan-Elbridge. Both of those programs are now independents.
Adirondack makes the move from 8-man to class D this year. With this move, the 8-man league has re-aligned from their class C and class D divisions to a North-West division and South-East division. North-West will consist of Bishop Grimes, South Lewis, Thousand Islands and Weedsport. Cooperstown, Morrisville-Eaton, New York Mills and West Canada Valley will play in the South-East division.
Game dates and times are subject to change as there is a shortage of officials throughout the country in recent years.
Full Section III schedule
Kenny Lacy is a sports reporter for the Observer-Dispatch. For unlimited access to his stories, please subscribe at the top of the uticaod.com homepage or activate your digital account today. Email Kenny Lacy at [email protected]