Traverse City Record-Eagle

Sports

November 15, 2013

Mesick to join West Michigan D in football

Bulldogs will remain in Northwest for all other sports

TRAVERSE CITY — The West Michigan D League is ending its football relationship with the Mid-State Athletic Conference starting next fall.

The two leagues joined forces several years ago, eventually creating a two-division setup.

Instead, the West Michigan D will go with a six-team alignment that will now include Mesick, which is leaving the newly-merged Northwest Conference-Lake Michigan Conference in football.

"They came to us after the Lake Michigan and Northwest situation took place," said Bear Lake athletic director Karen Leinaar, the West Michigan D secretary. "They were very verbal from the get-go that they weren't in favor of that merger. They were looking for a place for football — and the cards fell the right way this time."

Mesick will remain in the Northwest Conference for all other sports, Leinaar said.

The Bulldogs struggled in the Northwest, finishing 0-5 this fall. Mesick was 1-8 overall, its third consecutive one-win campaign. The lone win was over Brethren in week nine. Brethren, Onekama, Manistee Catholic, Baldwin and Traverse City Christian are the other five schools in the West Michigan D. Traverse City Christian, like Mesick, is a football-only member. Those five schools were in the North division of the Mid-State in 2013.

"The scheduling relationship (in the Mid-State) has been good for many years, but in the last few years there have been some very one-sided contests and this year due to injuries a couple of games were not played and forfeits had to be issued," Leinaar said. "So it was decided to make this change as the contracts were up this year."

Leinaar said Big Rapids Crossroads Academy, which had been a football member in the Mid-State, will move to 8–man football due to a decrease in participation numbers.

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