Marian Central’s athletes and fans may need some time to adjust and learn about fellow members in its new conference for the 2014-15 school year.
The Suburban Christian Conference is dissolving, with about half the schools joining the Metro Suburban while the rest will join the Chicago Catholic League, except for Marian. The Hurricanes kept communication lines open with the East Suburban Catholic Conference and were accepted in November.
The ESCC will have 12 schools for most boys sports and 13 for girls. When fall sports start, the league will not have divisions for football, but volleyball will have two divisions. Football will not be changed a great deal other than adding another heavy hitter, Marian, to an already powerful lineup.
The ESCC will leave the first two weeks of the season open for nonconference games, then play seven conference games. That means each school will not play two ESCC members, which turn out to be Benet Academy and Marist for Marian for the next two seasons.
“We’re not playing two of the bigger schools, I suppose that’s an advantage,” Hurricanes football coach Ed Brucker said. “It’s tough to say. We’re hoping we can come in and compete with them. I don’t have a lot of tape on a lot of teams.”
Marian, which has been a Class 5A powerhouse, joins Benet, Carmel, Joliet Catholic, Marian Catholic, Marist, Nazareth, Niles Notre Dame, St. Patrick and St. Viator for football. Marist, with a 2,915 enrollment with the IHSA multiplier, is the largest ESCC school, while Benet (2,204) is in the top four. Marian (1,136) will be the smallest school.
“There’s no easy week out there,” Brucker said. “Every week you’re going to get beat up. We’re going to have to have some depth.”
The Suburban Christian Conference offered some challenges with fluctuating divisions depending on the sport. Some teams were in the SCC Blue Division for one sport, but in the SCC Gold for another. The ESCC has some schools, like Fenwick and Bishop McNamara, which play football in the Chicago Catholic League, then play other boys sports in the ESCC.
A few sports will have divisions, while many will go with single round-robin formats and no divisions. Marian athletic director Drew Potthoff said baseball and softball will have double round-robin formats, but no divisions.
Potthoff said the scheduling for a new conference has gone relatively well.
“The fall’s almost done,” Potthoff said. “It hasn’t been that bad, once we were in. I started meeting with the [ESCC ADs] and going over the schedules. The main thing now is we’re trying to fill some nonconference things.”
Potthoff said Marian will try to maintain some relationships from the SCC by scheduling nonconference dates with some of those schools.
Marian will keep its nonconference football dates with the Fox Valley Conference’s Crystal Lake South and McHenry for this season.
“We’ll see a lot of big schools,” Brucker said. “It’s going to be a challenge.”
By the numbers
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Note: Providence (1,114/1,838) Bishop McNamara (366/604) do not play football, but compete in most other boys and girls sports in the ESCC.