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FC football is now in Class 3A

By John Estridge, Sports Editor

This happened before in the Franklin County High School football Wildcats history: the team is moving from Class 4A to Class 3A.

But this time it feels permanent. The last time was for the years 1997-98 and 1998-99. This time it is for 2019-20 and 2020-21.

Every third year the Indiana High School Athletic Association sets up the class system based mostly on enrollment figures.

Some schools are moved into the next highest class due to success in their current class.

FCHS enrollment figures have steadily declined, and that meant only one thing, heading to Class 3A.

FCHS is the 11 school in Class 3A based on enrollment with 764 students. Yorktown High School is the largest school in Class 3A with 803 students. The smallest school in Class 3A due to enrollment figures is Tippecanoe Valley High School with 544 students.

“We can thrive in 3A,” FCHS football coach Wes Gillman said. “Just like we once did in 4A. There are really good parents out there in this community. I think you'll see those people, and their kids, rise to the top in the near future.”

Class system in football is extremely important because in most cases, it would not be fair for a school in 6A to compete with a team in 1A for a sectional championship.

“The reason they have different classes is to even the playing field,” Gillman said. “Dropping to 3A will put us up against schools of similar size in the postseason.”

When the IHSAA did this the last time, FCHS was the 125th ranked school with an enrollment of 836.

It was ninth from the bottom of 4A.

“I see it firsthand every day,” Gillman said. “Kids aren't dropping out and going to other schools. Kids are just dropping out. Their parents are signing them out, but they aren't signing them back up in other school systems. It's alarming, but it's also fact, and the community we live in.”

So far, football is the only sport at FCHS to change classes. New football sectional assignments will be released in April.