Prospects for expansion are so scarce that the Fox Valley Conference has formed a contingency plan.
For several months, the FVC has looked for one or three potential members who could join as early as the 2014-15 school year. Since that appears a long shot at this point, FVC athletic directors are searching for a conference with which they can partner for football.
Johnsburg will move from the FVC to the Big Northern Conference in 2014-15, which will leave the FVC Fox Division with six teams, while the FVC Valley will still have seven. For scheduling purposes, the ADs want the same number of teams on both sides. Not having an equal number makes it particularly tough on football.
“Inquiries for members have been modest and slow,” said Woodstock AD Glen Wilson, the FVC ADs' president for this year. “We're embarking on examining football arrangements with another conference. It would be like what we did a couple years ago with the Northern Illinois Big Twelve.”
The current setup with 14 teams split into two seven-team divisions is ideal for scheduling purposes. In football, there were three division games on each side each weekend, with the other two teams playing a crossover game. That will not work with seven Valley teams and six Fox.
Hampshire joined the FVC in the 2011-12 school year, bringing the membership to 14, an all-time high. But Johnsburg, which moved over from the BNC in the 2006-07 school year, saw its enrollment shrinking instead of growing. Johnsburg principal Kevin Shelton said projections when his school left the BNC indicated an enrollment of near 1,100 by now. However, enrollment projections now show Johnsburg headed for less than 700 students.
Even with enrollment-driven divisions, the Skyhawks felt they could no longer compete in the FVC. Johnsburg and Dixon were invited last year to join the BNC in the 2014-15 school year.
Hanging with dad: Those of us who grew up with coaching fathers learned to appreciate the perks. You go to practice with your dad and shoot on the side, sometimes ride the bus to games, and feel like you're pretty cool because you know all the players and they treat you like a king.
It's been enjoyable to see a few youngsters hanging with their fathers' teams this season. Dundee-Crown coach Lance Huber's son Kyle and Crystal Lake South coach Matt LePage's son Cooper get a little run with their fathers' teams in pregame layup lines.
Central coach Rich Czeslawski's son Jimmy, a few years younger than Huber and LePage, stands for the national anthem with the Tigers. Jimmy, naturally, is first in line, just in front of Corban Murphy.
Woodstock coach Alex Baker's son Charlie helps at practices and sits on the bench for junior varsity games.
Being a coach's son carries some nice fringe benefits.
In the Hall: Woodstock inducted four new members to the Woodstock High School Hall of Fame Friday night. Lisa Strout Beard, Jeremy Magee and Greg Miller went in as athletes and former boys basketball coach Gordie Tebo, the winningest coach in school history with 286 victories, went in as a coach.
• Joe Stevenson is a senior sports writer for the Northwest Herald. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. You also can follow him on Twitter @nwh_JoePrepZone.