Thursday, July 7, 2011
Latest on Hockomock expansion, OCL's future
By Scott Barboza
Barring any unforeseen last-step hurdles, Milford and Taunton will join the Hockomock League starting with the 2012-2013 academic year.
Milford athletic director Richard Piergustavo and Taunton’s Mark Ottavianelli have attained their respective school committee’s approval on the move. With the Scarlet Hawks and Tigers on board, the Hockomock will expand to 12 teams, with two six-team divisions dictated by school enrollment.
The Hockomock’s latest additions trace back to its last expansion when the league admitted Attleboro, which completed its first Hockomock season of play in 2011.
“We first applied when Attleboro applied and the league was looking to expand,” Ottavianelli said.
It is believed that neither of the school’s current leagues — the Mid-Wach A and Old Colony League — will bar them from leaving.
However, Taunton’s departure will leave the OCL with just three remaining schools: Barnstable, Bridgewater-Raynham and Dartmouth. The league, which dates back to 1948, has seen leaner years recently with 11 schools departing its ranks in less than a decade.
“We also applied to the Hockomock a couple of years ago,” B-R athletic director Dan Buron said. “We were disappointed that we weren’t extended an invitation as well. But I wish Taunton well, it’s a great league [the Hockomock], it’s clearly one of the most competitive in the state.”
With no immediate plans for OCL expansion on the horizon, its future is — at best — uncertain.
Buron said he’s scheduled to meet with Barnstable’s Steve Francis and Dartmouth’s Jeff Caron in the coming weeks to discuss the league’s long-term plans.
But there aren’t many options available. If there are no changes, the OCL will join Division 1’s Big Three as the only other three-team conference in the state.
“I really don’t know what there is to do,” Buron said. “The three of us that are left, we just have to circle the wagons for now. There are no quick fixes and we have to do what’s best for each of the remaining schools. What’s good for B-R might not be good for Barnstable, or Dartmouth, or vice versa.”
That numbers game was a factor in Taunton’s hop to the Hock.
“We played 46 different schools total this year,” Ottavianelli said, “the logistics behind that is challenging. This way [in the Hockomock], we know we’re going to have consistent rivalries and it will help with travel arrangements, keeping our play in the immediate area.”
ALIGNING INTO PLACE Using last year’s enrollment figures, here’s a look at how the Hockomock figures to shape up in 2012.
The final breakdown will be announced in Dec. 2011 with the updated figures, and there’s a possibility North Attleborough could move down and Oliver Ames could move up, but here’s how the divisions look to align:
Kelley-Rex Division (Large School): Attleboro, Franklin, King Philip, Mansfield, North Attleborough, Taunton
Davenport Division (Small): Canton, Foxborough, Milford, Oliver Ames, Sharon, Stoughton