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NECC football
Big school
West Noble
Small school
Central Noble
Prairie Heights
Note: Beginning in 2014

NECC football will have 2 divisions in ’14

As expected, the NECC will go back to two divisions in football with the return of Garrett in 2014.

Angola athletic director Mark Ridenour confirmed the format change Wednesday.

The conference’s athletic directors have been involved in discussions about scheduling since Garrett was officially brought back into the fold in May.

The big-school division will be made up of Angola, Fairfield, Garrett, Lakeland and West Noble. Small-school teams are Central Noble, Churubusco, Eastside, Fremont and Prairie Heights.

Teams are required to play the other schools in the division and can add schools from the other division to their schedule. Angola, the largest NECC school, will play Fremont and Prairie Heights as its two cross-divisional games.

“It is what you can pick up,” Ridenour said of playing nondivisional opponents. “We will still try to pick up other rivals. That allows us two nonconference games, which is what we were looking for.”

The Railroaders won the final three “Big Five” titles in 2002-04, while Eastside won the last “Little Five” title in 2004.

Garrett left the NECC for the ACAC eight years ago and returns as the 12th league member with Hamilton and Westview not playing football. The Railroaders will rejoin the NECC in 2014-15.

Football and track will be the only two sports with the two-division format. Ridenour said there are still discussions whether track will be big school/small school, north/south or east/west divisions.

Recently, the league added Garrett, while Angola reaffirmed its membership status after looking at other possible conference avenues.

Ultimately, Leo and Huntington North were chosen to join the six other schools – Bellmont, Columbia City, DeKalb, East Noble, New Haven and Norwell – in forming a new conference in 2015.

“We feel a lot more relaxed than we did maybe a couple of months ago,” Ridenour said about the NECC. “Garrett coming into the NECC certainly helped our situation out.”