The proposal to move from three football classes to four has generated a lot of discussion. And it will generate a lot more before any measure is enacted.

With football-playing schools from Millinocket to Kittery, and Rumford to Rockland, there’s plenty to discuss.

Representatives from football schools recently met at Lewiston High to discuss issues related to the four-class proposal. There were about 30 people there, including members from the Maine Principals’ Association football and classification committees.

After all the discussion and possible modifications, it will be the football committee’s task to put forth a recommendation to the classification committee. The classification committee is doing its biennial reclassification of all high school sports for the next two academic years. The football committee is scheduled to meet again Dec. 2.

“The committee members were there to listen and get feedback,” said Mike Burnham, an assistant executive director at the MPA. “There’s still support to look at four classes.”

The current four-class proposal has the larger schools in the state playing in Class AA. At the moment, that includes schools with enrollments of 865 and up. Under the Class AA setup, 18 schools would be divided into three six-team divisions — North, Central and South.

Therein lies the problem for schools in the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference.

“The short of it is that if people think that’s what we need, then we’ll all for it,” said Brunswick Athletic Director Gene Keene. “But we’re not in favor of three divisions. We feel there will be some inequities in playoff selection and teams making the playoffs.”

Until it’s known what the playoff format would be for Class AA, it’s too early to get close to supporting or rejecting the plan.

The other three classes (A, B and C) under the proposal have the traditional East-West setup. Keene said a Class AA setup with two nine-team divisions would be better.

“It’s not just a Class A issue,” said Keene. “It’s also my understanding there are a lot of Class B schools that have concerns.”

Some of the smaller schools and new programs that are struggling are concerned where they would be placed.

Enrollment always has been the MPA’s criteria for classifying teams. Schools have been allowed to drop down a class in competition if they feel they need to, but if they do drop down they’re ineligible for the playoffs, as was the case this year with Old Town in Eastern Class C.

To save struggling programs, there’s talk of allowing them to play down and still be eligible for the playoffs.

Whatever the final alignment for football is for the 2011 season, it won’t be rushed through.

“We want to do it right,” said Burnham.

IF IT’S THE Western Class A semifinals, it must mean a Bonny Eagle-Deering matchup. This will be the fifth time the powers have met in the semifinals since 2004.

They will play at 1 p.m. Saturday at Standish.

The Scots have won three of the previous four meetings, winning in 2004, 2007 and 2008. The Rams won in 2006.

Deering didn’t make the playoffs last year.

Bonny Eagle won in 2004 on its makeshift field because its regular field was being renovated. The Scots went on to win the first of their four state titles.

Bonny Eagle added state titles in 2005, 2007 and 2008.

In 2008, Deering won the regular-season meeting to get home field in the playoffs, but the Scots recovered a fumble on Deering’s first play and never looked back in the playoff game.

Deering’s lone semifinal win over the Scots in 2006 led to a matchup at Gorham for the regional title, which Deering lost. Deering won a state title in 2003.

“We’ve played Bonny Eagle twice a season on a fairly regular basis,” said Deering Coach Greg Stilphen.

“The road to the state title usually leads through Bonny Eagle. Both programs have a lot of respect for one another. These are two good football teams that bring out the best in each other. Both teams get up for each other during summer seven-on-seven passing drills. It will come down to which team makes the plays.”

Bonny Eagle beat the Rams 34-12 on Sept. 16. The Scots’ backfield of quarterback Matt Rollins and running back Nick Adkins and Ethan Thorne combined for five touchdowns and nearly 400 yards.

Deering scored in four plays to take a 6-0 lead, but the Scots scored 28 second-quarter points to take charge.

“The game unwound for us in four minutes,” said Stilphen.

YARMOUTH HAD its first home playoff game last week against Maranacook. Tonight, the top-ranked Clippers will have their second home playoff game when they face fifth-seeded Oak Hill.

As the seventh seed in the Western Class C playoffs last year, the Clippers were road warriors, winning two games before losing in the regional final to Dirigo, the eventual state champion.

In only its fourth season of varsity play, Yarmouth (9-0) is the highest-scoring team in the state, averaging just under 50 points per game. But in the second week of the season, the Clippers had their closest game of the season, beating Oak Hill, 20-15.

Yarmouth Coach Jim Hartman expects another close game.

“Oak Hill has some good, strong running backs,” said Hartman. “Josh Allen is a tough runner. He may be the best player in the conference.

“They gave us a scare. It was a physical game. It should be a real test for us. We had a good week of practice so we’ll see if we’re ready.”

Hartman has noticed a different demeanor from his team in the playoffs.

“Last year the players were full of excitement just to be in the playoffs,” he said. “This time they’re a lot more serious. They’re more focused and studious. They’re spending a lot more time in the film room. They know what to expect this season.”

To move on to their second straight regional final, Hartman said the Clippers will have to contain Allen and continue to have their offense running at peak efficiency.

“Because of the offense we run (wing-T), we have four backs who have gained over 500 yards,” said Hartman.

Anders Overhaug, a junior, leads the group with 800 yards. Nick Proscia has more than 700 yards, and Nate Pingitore, last year’s leading rusher, is closing in on 600 yards.

Freshman quarterback Brady Neujahr has rushed for 360 yards and has scored 10 touchdowns. He has thrown for nine TDs.

“Brady is our fastest kid in the backfield,” said Hartman. “If a team overlooks him, they’re at their own peril.

Hartman said the offensive line deserves a lot of credit. The Clippers had only two returning starters from last season, senior Jack Watterson and junior Jon Held.

“They’re a heck of a pair,” said Hartman.

After going a combined 1-17 in its first two seasons, Yarmouth is 17-3 over the past two years.

“If we want to be champs, we’re going to have to go through Oak Hill and then face a tough one next week. Stearns is looking impressive in Eastern Maine,” said Hartman.

Staff Writer Tom Chard can be reached at 791-6419 or at:

[email protected]