Wyoming Area’s most recent District 2 title and state football playoffs appearance came in 2012 when the Warriors were a small school.
After four years competing on the big school level, the Warriors are dropping back down for the next two years, improving the prospects of success for a talented sophomore class.
During the state playoff era of high school football in Pennsylvania, which began in 1988, Wyoming Area has often hovered between being one of the largest of the small schools or one of the smallest of the big schools in terms of enrollment.
The Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association released its enrollment figures and sports classifications for the entire state Friday, confirming that the Warriors boys teams will drop down in class for football, soccer and golf.
In football, which began using six classes in 2016, Wyoming Area drops from Class 4A to Class 3A. The previous district championship came when the Warriors were a Class 2A school in the old four-class system.
“I think that we are a true Class 3A classification school in football, meaning that we can hang with some of the 4A schools,” said Wyoming Area athletic director and assistant football coach Joe Pizano. “But I do know that we were always successful when we were in the old Double-A bracket because we were one of the highest enrollments in that bracket and less successful in the old 3A and now 4A, having the lowest amount of boys in the division.”
The PIAA counts separate boys and girls enrollments for Grades 9-11 every two years and bases classifications on those numbers for the next two seasons. The new classifications drive playoff planning in each class on the district and state level, as well as having an impact on potential realignment of Wyoming Valley Conference divisions for regular-season play.
Wyoming Area has 270 boys and 261 girls across three grades, according to the latest figures submitted to the PIAA. Schools with 272 or fewer boys compete in Class 3A in football while schools with 270 or less boys are 2A in soccer, which uses four classes.
Pittston Area has 365 boys and 393 girls, meaning no major changes for Patriots’ teams.
Wyoming Area is likely to end up with different divisional rivals in football, soccer and golf.
The specifics will be worked out by WVC officials while determining what works best for all the schools, but based on past practices, it seems likely the Warriors’ football schedule will include fellow WVC Class 3A schools Meyers, GAR, Hanover Area, Lake-Lehman and Holy Redeemer, as well as rival Pittston Area.
GAR and Hanover Area are the only WVC Class 3A schools the Warriors faced in the 2016 and 2017 seasons.
Lakeland moved up from Class 2A, increasing the number of District 2 Class 3A schools from seven to nine. Unbeaten three-time champion Scranton Prep and Western Wayne are the other Lackawanna Football Conference schools that will be part of District 2 Class 3A football.
The Warriors went 1-13 and finished last in their division in boys soccer, playing all the other large schools twice in a two-division format. They would move to a lower division if the two-division setup remains or, even if the WVC switches to another format, Wyoming Area will end up with a different, less-demanding schedule.
“All of that stuff is to be discussed,” Pizano said.
The golf team competed against all large schools during conference play the last two seasons.
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