Alpena won’t join new football conference in 2022

News File Photo Alpena running back Kadyn Budnick (32) carries the ball during a Week 2 football game against Cheboygan in Alpena's home opener on Park Family Field at Wildcat Stadium.

ALPENA — The Alpena High football program will have some familiar opponents on the schedule next season, but won’t be joining a new conference. Yet.

Alpena’s bid to join the Northern Michigan Football Conference — along Cadillac, Petoskey and Gaylord — beginning in 2022 was voted down Tuesday by conference superintendents, according to the Traverse City Record-Eagle.

The Wildcats had hoped to join the NMFL after Traverse City West and Traverse City Central recently announced they were leaving the Big North Conference for football at the end of this season.

“It’s definitely unfortunate news that we won’t be joining the Northern Michigan Football Conference. But we’re moving forward and we’re excited about the future,” Alpena Athletic Director Jon Studley said. “We’re working on a Plan B of putting a schedule together that’s competitive for us.”

According to the Record-Eagle, several superintendents voiced concern about the size difference between the larger BNC schools and the schools already in the NMFL.

The NMFC currently has 20 teams split among three divisions. The addition of the remaining Big North schools would have potentially seen the creation of a fourth division which would have included Sault Ste. Marie and Cheboygan.

Studley confirmed that Alpena will play Cadillac, Petoskey and Gaylord next season, along with Marquette. Plans are currently in the works to fill in the other five games.

“None of us are in a panic, but we do want to put a schedule together,” Studley said.


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