Here Are All The Lansing-Area High School Rivalries We Could Lose Due To CAAC Realignment
With the CAAC set to realign itself by enrollment in 2018-19 there are going to be some intriguing matchups in the years to come across area high school sports. However, what might hurt more for some area teams is the rivalries they could lose.
It's important to note "could", since out of conference scheduling makes it possible to keep rivalries alive in times where mandatory games are not played against one another being conference rivals. Most of these rivalries will be lost on the football field since other sports, like basketball, allow for much more flexibility in out of conference scheduling due to the quantity of games.
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With that in mind here are the rivalries we may have to say goodbye to as we get to realignment.
A three-way rivalry between Lansing's inner city schools could very well be broken up by realignment in Lansing Eastern (moving to Red), Lansing Sexton (moving to White) and Lansing Everett (staying in Blue).
Eastern and Everett were original members of the CAAC-Blue (2007) with Sexton joining in 2011. Since 2011, Sexton sports an 10-2 record in games against their city rivals in football. Everett is 8-4 and Eastern is 0-12 in that same span.
Basketball shouldn't be in jeopardy due to the aforementioned quantity of out of conference scheduling opportunities.
If a rivalry from this threesome could be saved by out of conference scheduling in football it would likely be the Eastern-Sexton Oak Chest game. The two have traditionally played each other in the football season finale for both schools and these teams have played every year in some way since their programs were founded. With both of these schools dropping to six school conferences that means four games each year become out of conference for the Quakers and Big Reds (up from two a year), so it would be easy to sustain this rivalry.
Everett's seven conference games in the CAAC-Blue along with their traditional OK-Red scheduling won't allow both Sexton and Eastern to appear on the 9-game schedule once the move happens. It's likely both are gone from Everett's schedule under realignment. Luckily, Everett gets a new city rivalry with Waverly jumping into the Blue.
One of the fiercest rivalries in the area and likely a rivalry sustained in out of conference scheduling is DeWitt and Haslett. The two have played each other in football 46 times with DeWitt winning 37 of those meetings and the last 16 straight.
While the record may be lopsided the intensity on the field make these games something that will be missing from falls in Mid-Michigan if realignment gets the better of the rivalry. DeWitt making the jump to CAAC-Blue means the Panthers will have two less out of conference games and it's hard to imagine them keeping Haslett off of their schedule.
The Panthers in recent years have scheduled series against premier opponents across the state of Michigan like Menominee, Linden and Grand Rapids Christian (starting in 2017). With seven conference games a year for DeWitt starting in 2018 something might have to go, a classic rivalry or a series with a state powerhouse. Of course, the CAAC-Blue's traditional OK-Red crossover series could provide that powerhouse opponent DeWitt likes to schedule.
Another classic CAAC-Red clash every year is St. John's and DeWitt. While DeWitt has never been beaten in CAAC-Red regular season play, the Redwings have given that record a test on many occasions. One of the football instant classics of the Lansing area came in this rivalry in the 2015 districts when St. John's beat DeWitt in a high octane game in DeWitt 42-28.
As mentioned above, the Panthers moving to the Blue and having more in-conference games means some parts of DeWitt football are going to change. While nothing is concrete as of now, it's easy to forecast that the rivalry with St. John's will be gone due to conference realignment. Luckily for area football fans, there is a very good chance the two play each other in the postseason thanks to similar enrollment numbers (994 for DeWitt, 990 for St. John's for 2017).
The rivalry as of this writing stands with DeWitt having an 18-7 record over St. John's in football.
Williamston is moving to the Red and it will be their first conference move since the CAAC founded the White in 2007. One of their best games year in and year out would be against Lansing Catholic who own a seven game win streak in the football series. Williamston's last win against the Cougars came in the 2010 playoffs.
To some extent this rivalry will also be sorely missed in basketball though with out of conference scheduling there should be at least one matchup a year in basketball. Matchups on the hardwood like Riley Lewis against Tony Poljan have really rooted this rivalry across the board.
The good news for football fans is that Williamston is moving to a six team conference meaning the Hornets still have four out of conference games to fill. Since 2009, the Hornets have played Haslett (who they'll share a conference with) so the out of conference flexibility the Hornets have will likely keep this rivalry alive for some time.
Lansing Catholic leads the all-time series against Williamston 11-7 in football.
The eight team CAAC-Blue has given fans a lot of great rivalries every year and two of the top programs in the conference won't be playing each other as much if at all, in Sexton and East Lansing.
On the gridiron, in 53 games played East Lansing has won 33, Sexton has won 19 and one game finished in a tie (1963). More recently, the series is tied 3-3 since Sexton joined the CAAC-Blue in 2011.
Sexton's deep playoff runs in 2013 and 2014 really solidified them as one of the CAAC-Blue's best in their short time in that conference. It will be interesting for the Big Reds who will now have two more out of conference games to schedule (moving from eight team conference to six team conference) who they will choose to play on a semi-regular basis, and if any of those teams will be their (soon-to-be) former conference members.
On the hardwood, one of the best games played in recent memory came on January 8, 2016 between these two schools. A 69-67 double overtime win for East Lansing kept their record unblemished. The Trojans finished that season 20-0 and lost in the Regionals to Everett.
While not natural rivals by proximity, though the distance between the schools is only about nine miles, Sexton and Grand Ledge have played some great games both on the gridiron and on the hardwood in recent years.
In football, the overall record between these two is very close with the Big Reds holding a slight 20-17 lead. Since Sexton moved to the Blue in 2011 the Comets have four wins to Sexton's two to win the recency battle. In 2011, a 14-0 Sexton win helped rekindle a rivalry that had been dormant since 2006. Both teams would make the playoffs and get knocked out in the Districts that year.
In basketball, while both teams have struggled in recent years their games against each other have been entertaining. Three of the last four contests have been single digit games and one of the most memorable games in the series was Grand Ledge beating Sexton on their home floor 60-58 back in January of 2016.
Sexton moving down to the White means they will have more flexibility in their out of conference scheduling. Sexton will have a lot of choices of rivalries to keep alive between Grand Ledge, East Lansing, and their inner-city rivals. The only city of Lansing rivalry Sexton will have by conference alignment is Lansing Catholic starting in 2018-19.