Nov. 10—Trying not to be that guy, but I really wish District 4 could have spread these football games out a bit.
All of the district semifinals and the Class 4A final are set for this evening at 7 p.m., and in a perfect world — like last Friday — I could get to three in a 24-hour period like I did last weekend.
There are three games that stick out as must-see to me — the Class 4A championship game and both 2A semifinals in our coverage area. Don't sleep on that Canton-South Williamsport Class A game for entertainment value either.
The 4A championship game pitches two undefeated teams in Selinsgrove and Jersey Shore, whose only blemish is a tie in Week 3. Throw in all the emotions surrounding the game and the Max Engle tragedy and it is a game with as many off-field subplots as on-field.
How can you go wrong with a Mount Carmel-Southern Columbia game? The previous three meetings haven't been classic games in the traditional sense, but they certainly didn't lack for news value. Mount Carmel winning the last two regular-season meetings, and an underdog Southern Columbia team — there are four words that don't normally go together — bouncing back to win a District 4 championship last year on its way to a sixth consecutive state crown.
The other Class 2A team pits undefeated Troy against a Line Mountain team looking for its first 10-win season since 2011. Let's be honest, Troy could be a great football team, but they certainly are not getting a lot of credit for it when you come out of the Northern Tier, and probably from me as well.
Northern Tier district champions above Class A are pretty darn rare, and Troy is looking to be the first since the Trojans beat Danville back in 2013.
I think there are pretty clear favorites in Class 3A in Danville and Loyalsock. But both Lewisburg and Warrior Run are playing their best football of the season. If either the Ironmen or Lancers are looking ahead to their fourth meeting in two years, both the Green Dragons and Defenders have the talent and skill to pull off the upset.
Something else to keep an eye on over the next coming weeks. It's time for the new PIAA classification numbers to be revealed.
The interest to me is how the numbers are going to change with the new way the PIAA has decided to count students in a district for purposes of classifying them for sports. Since 2016, the PIAA has used a 10 percent rule. When schools turn in their numbers, you only took 10% of the number of students that were in charter schools or at vo-tech, but now those students will count as full students.
It will probably only affect the smaller schools in classification. If a school has 95 kids in its sophomore through senior class, plus another 20 in vo-tech or in a charter program, it counts as 97 students. Now all 20 kids count as a full student, giving a school 115 kids instead of 97.
It looks like the PIAA increased the number of students in each classification between 20 and 40 students as well. In the current cycle, the Class A cutoff is 123 students, and 2A is 180 students. In the 2024-25, 2025-2026 parameters for football, the Class A cutoff is 143, while Class 2A is 216.
It's the school on the fringes of these numbers that might be moving up a classification.
Todd Hummel covers high school football for The Daily Item.