AUGUSTA — Biddeford and Noble high schools would compete in Class B football this fall under a proposal approved Tuesday by the Maine Principals’ Association’s Football Committee.

With time running out to tweak the state’s football classification plan for the next two seasons, the committee voted to raise the cutoff for Class A schools from 840 students to 845. That would place Noble, with an enrollment of 842, in Class B for football. Biddeford, with 775 students, has played Class A football but petitioned the MPA to move down to Class B.

The committee’s proposal also would move Windham from Eastern Class A to Western A, giving each division seven teams. Western Class B would expand to 12 teams with the addition of Noble and Biddeford.

The proposal must be approved by the MPA’s Classification Committee, which will meet Monday. The plan then would go before the entire membership for final approval in late April.

“We’re at the eleventh hour here,” said Bunky Dow, athletic director at Mt. Desert Island High and member of the Classification Committee.

The Football Committee’s action was in response to a proposal affecting schools that petition to play in a higher-enrollment class.

Under MPA rules, schools that petition to play up have to make a four-year commitment to the higher class. But in January, the MPA’s Management Committee approved a measure that would change the commitment to two years, backing an earlier decision by the Classification Committee. That means the four schools that applied to play up in football two years ago – Cheverus and Biddeford to Class A, and Wells and Mountain Valley to Class B – would have a clean slate beginning with the 2015 season.

“If the proposal to go from four years to two years is approved by the (general) membership, it does have ramifications (for football),” said Mike Burnham, the MPA’s assistant executive director.

Cheverus, Wells and Mountain Valley will continue to petition up in football, Burnham said.

Biddeford reached the Western Class A semifinals last season and historically has been one of the stronger programs in Class A. But declining enrollment has taken a toll.

Biddeford’s last state championship was in 1994. Its petition to erase the final two years of its commitment to play in Class A was denied by the MPA in November. The school planned to appeal the decision until the committees came up with the new proposal.

If the general membership rejects the plan, Biddeford superintendent Jeremy Ray has said the school will petition the MPA again to allow the Tigers to play in Class B.

The Football Committee also heard a proposal Tuesday by Leavitt Coach Mike Hathaway to expand Maine high school football from four classes to five. Hathaway said his plan would allow for more competitive matchups at all levels, and would let teams schedule interclass games. But committee members said there is simply not enough time to give Hathaway’s plan proper consideration.

Burnham pointed out that the process to expand from three classes to four took years.

“It’s something to look to down the road,” said Paul Bickford, chair of the Football Committee and assistant principal at Oxford Hills. “It takes time.”

Craig Sickels, athletic director at Freeport High, told the committee that the Campbell Conference hopes to reduce lopsided games with a tiered schedule. The top teams, Tier I, would play each other with a few crossover games with teams in Tier II, those that have struggled in recent seasons.

The Campbell Conference includes all the teams in Western B, C and D. Among the things being considered for the league’s schedule is allowing interclass games. Interclass games could only be scheduled if both schools agree to the matchup, Sickels said. Each school was asked to provide a list of interclass opponents it would play, and only two matches were agreeable: Gray-New Gloucester (Class C) vs. Mt. Ararat (Class B) and Leavitt (Class B) vs. Spruce Mountain (Class C), he said.

If the Campbell Conference goes to a tiered schedule, the league could give more weight to teams in Tier I when it comes to playoff seeding, Sickels said. For instance, the top three seeds in the regional playoffs could go to the top three teams in Tier I, regardless of the standings.

“Obviously if you’re in Tier I, you’re there for a reason,” Sickels said.

The Campbell Conference will meet next week to discuss possible playoff formats, he said.