On Saturday, Saint John High School beat Hampton High School in a football game played at Hampton. The result left the Greyhounds with the second best record in the province at 5-1, second only to the 6-0 Fredericton High School Black Kats.

Wouldn't it be ironic and a bit unfortunate if those two teams advanced to the provincial football final and played head to head for the Ed Skiffington Trophy? Fredericton High playing Saint John High in Moncton.

Moncton? Yes. folks Moncton. And that's why it would be a bit unfortunate.

The NBIAA decided before the season started to hold the championship game at Moncton's Rocky Stone Field, no matter who was playing.

It would have been even more ironic if Leo Hayes Lions had a team strong enough to make the final and FHS and Leo Hayes had to travel to Moncton to play each other.

The fans would have to travel, the home media would be absent or at least poorly represented.

Rocky Stone is an all-weather field and given the weather in this part of the world, the theory is the weather wouldn't play as big a role. And, of course, knowing the game is there right from the start, that gives the hosts all season to promote the game.

And blah, blah, blah.

If you were at FHS Field for the last two championship games, you would know the weather didn't detract from either game.

In fact, in the case of the 2004 game, it probably added to it. And Rocky Stone Field is no warmer than FHS field or Saint John's Shamrock Park.

It is however, in Moncton. And that's somewhere the championship game hasn't been played since 2002. Well, if you can't win your way to the game on the field, best to capture its venue in the board room, I guess.

This is the same kind of decision that ended the regular season crossover games in high school 12-man football between the Moncton-based east division and the Fredericton-Saint John regional west division before this season.

Did you know that last year in crossover play, the west won 13 of 15 times against the east? They were 9-1 in season play and 4-1 in the playoffs with Moncton teams eliminated before the final.

Well, that was enough of that. The east isn't dealing with any teams out of the west until the semifinal round this season. That gives them a two out of four chance one of them will make it to the final.

If one of them can squeak past FHS, Saint John or Hampton, maybe even OHS, then they will have home field advantage for the final even though chances are FHS will go to the playoffs at 7-0.

And if that plan doesn't work, maybe next year they can change it so that there is no crossover until the final itself. Surely, a Moncton team can get in that way.

OK, that was a cheap shot, I'm sure most of the east players and coaches blush at the perception that they are leery of playing against the west. But perception is often the key to how you are regarded. Perhaps the people who decided to approach the season this way need to stop trying to manage results and let the teams decide things on the field.

  • Let there be absolutely no doubt that I support the high school basketball Final 12 at the Aitken Centre. I firmly believe it should be at the AUC until somebody proves they can do a better job.

    Nobody should be allowed to rip the event from the people who made it what it is just because they want it. They should have to make it clear they can do at least as good a job.

    That said, sometimes I wish just a little the tournament had gone to another area of the province when last awarded.

    In that case, those other areas could stop whining 'well, Fredericton gets the basketball championships every year,' when manoeuvring for an advantage in getting something they want in another sport, like football.

  • In last week's column, I mentioned that UNB won't grab the average fan in the fall until they return football to campus. I worded it to say that soccer games won't get it done. I shouldn't have mentioned soccer, or any other sport.

    It's not about football versus soccer or any sport.

    My point was if UNB announced a football team tomorrow, it would be all over the media. It would be the talk of many offices, maybe even the talk of student residences.

    Football receives huge coverage from the media, especially television, and with it the high profile among the fans that spend the money.

    It would be a massive marketing tool for UNB. No other sport except maybe ice hockey can match it.

    That doesn't make it a better sport than soccer, or a worst one. It is just the way it is at this time, at this place. Football has a built-in psychological advantage over anything else in the fall with fans and media alike.

    Books could be written about the reasons why. But it's the way it is.

    Mike Power can be contacted at mpower@dailygleaner.com. His weekly column on school-related activities appears every Tuesday.