Recently, Loudonville was selected by the KMAC to replace Highland when that Morrow County school district returns to the MOAC — at least in football.
Loudonville will join the KMAC in that sport for the 2022 football season, when Highland leaves in football. However, the school didn’t receive enough votes from KMAC schools to be admitted as a full member in all sports. Highland will join the MOAC in all sports besides football in the 2021-22 school year.
“When Highland got out, we saw there was an opening,” said Loudonviille athletic director Kevin Maltarich. “We wanted to get into the conference for all athletics. We’re hoping to change that down the road, but it’s a start.”
Loudonville has history with the four Knox County schools in the KMAC, as they were all in the Mid-Buckeye Conference together before that conference splintered in 2013.
“Some of those schools around us are natural rivals to us,” said Maltarich. “It’ll be nice to renew those rivalries.”
With many schools leaving the MBC to join either the KMAC or Licking County League, a series of events that led to Loudonville being a member of two conferences occurred. While the MBC was able to gain a number of new schools over the ensuing years, not all of them offered football as a sport, so the conference didn’t have a football championship.
Loudonville would play as an independent for a few years and then joined the Principals Athletic Conference in that sport in 2017. However, this offered its own issues for the school. Competing in Division VI in football, Loudonville found itself the smallest team in its new conference, which consisted of Division IV and V schools before their entry.
“We’re looking forward to getting in and having better competition for us in the KMAC,” said Maltarich. “In the PAC, some schools were twice our size.”
While the school did reach the playoffs in 2018 with a 5-5 record, they struggled last year, finishing 1-9 with that victory coming over the KMAC’s Danville. Maltavich said the PAC’s larger schools was good preparation for the postseason, but he noted that he believes his school will fit in more with the KMAC, which (aside from the departing Scots) currently consists solely of Division VI and VII teams.
“The PAC has really good competition and has some Division I athletes, so that really prepared us for the playoffs,” he said. “In the KMAC, there’s a more consistent competition level, so we’ll have more chances to do better in conference play.”
Rob Hamilton can be reached at 419-946-3010, ext. 1807. Connect with him on Twitter at @SportsMCS