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School Notebook

New playoff system proposed

By Bob Holmes
Globe Staff / October 18, 2011

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FRANKLIN - On the road to a perfectly good realignment sub-committee, the MIAA Football Committee heard from an old friend yesterday.

A new proposal for a state-wide football playoff system tabled any discussion of realigning the state’s football teams for the 2013 season. All MIAA sports committees are charged with realigning based on 2011 enrollment figures. But when the committee heard about the plan being worked on by the Massachusetts State Football Coaches Association, realignment talk was put on hold.

The new proposal, which is expected to be finalized next month, is an improvement on the previous proposal, said Fitchburg athletic director and coaches association president Ray Cosenza. While the old plan, which was voted down at the MIAA’s annual meeting in March 2010, did away with leagues, the new plan is expected to preserve leagues while still allowing additional teams to qualify for the postseason and finishing with six true state champions. Details are still being worked out by a sub-committee of coaches, chaired by Stoughton coach Greg Burke.

“We’re the only sport without a true state champion. So that’s our goal,’’ said Cosenza, who added the full proposal is expected to be presented to all coaches Nov. 10. “I’m hoping we can bring it all together so that, if this committee in February likes what the state coaches have come up with, my goal would be that that would be the proposal we go forward with in May.’’

Cosenza and the coaches association liked the old proposal, “and we were disappointed it got voted down.’’ So what has to be different this time around?

“I think one of the big hang-ups was our old proposal really blew up leagues,’’ he said. “There were no longer any leagues. This new proposal, although I haven’t seen it, will keep the integrity of leagues. And that will be one of the ways that schools will get in [to the postseason.]’’

The next meeting of the Football Committee is Feb. 9. By then committee members will have seen the coaches’ proposal. If they like it, the same process goes into effect as the last proposal with the Tournament Management Committee and Board of Directors involved. If the board’s actions follow the last proposal, it will send the question to the annual membership meeting in late March/early April 2013. If the Football Committee doesn’t like the proposal, the next move is a realignment sub-committee.

Xaverian athletic director and football committee member Charlie Stevenson expressed a thought undoubtedly shared by others in the room.

“If this doesn’t go through, we might as well say, let’s never again talk about a statewide playoff system,’’ he said.

Eyeing sites

Potential playoff sites were announced at yesterday’s meeting. Last year, EMass used eight sites for the semifinal round. This year, 11 are in contention for the Nov. 29 games, with Andover, Lincoln-Sudbury, Lowell’s Cawley Stadium, Lynn’s Manning Field, and Reading in the North; and BC High, Bridgewater-Raynham, Franklin, Medway, Taunton, and Weymouth in the South. L-S could become a South site as well depending on matchups. Should L-S and B-R win their leagues they would play each other in a Division 1A semifinal. In that case a coin flip would determine who played at home.

The nine EMass Super Bowls would be played at Gillette Stadium (four games) along with some combination of Bentley, Lowell, and Lynn.

Titus runs for record

St. Bernard’s senior Cody Titus Saturday broke the state’s rushing record for a game, piling up 436 yards on 34 carries in a 33-14 win over Littleton in Fitchburg.

Titus, a 5-foot-9-inch, 165-pounder from Peterborough, N.H., had touchdown runs of 95, 72, 64, 39, and 1 yards. His total was 10 yards better than the mark of Lynn English’s Brandon Guy against Swampscott Sept. 29, 2001.

“I didn’t really know how many yards I had,’’ Titus said yesterday. “I was just trying to get first downs and keep driving the ball. A state record? I was pretty shocked when I found out.’’

Titus has rushed for 1,465 yards and 16 touchdowns on 180 carries this season.

The national rushing record for a game of 739 yards was set by John Giannantonio of Netcong, N.J., in 1950.

Dave Nordman of the Worcester Telegram & Gazette contributed to this report.