NORTH ADAMS -- Hank Barrett has been part of two straight Western Massachusetts Super Bowl champions at Mount Greylock.
Yet the senior quarterback said he's often wondered how those great Mountie football teams would stack up against powers east of Springfield.
"We definitely have talked about that," he said. "With other teams and other sports, the soccer team won the state in 2008 and I was at that game. That's pretty crazy to say."
The Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association could take a final step toward letting schools like Greylock step onto a statewide stage when the association's membership votes on a state football tournament this morning. The special assembly begins at 9 a.m. inside Assabet Valley Regional Tech High School in Marlborough. Principals and delegates from 373 member schools have been invited there to discuss a proposal that splits the state into six divisions, allowing for state championship games in each division at Gillette Stadium beginning next year.
"I think it's nice to actually have a state champion," said Drury coach Bill Bryce. "If you got a team that's really good you should have an opportunity to play for a state championship. Football I believe is the only sport where they don't have a legitimate state champ."
The current format ends with sectional championships, which Greylock has won the last two years. The new proposal, which MIAA spokesman Paul Wetzel said will be
There has been some opposition to the plan. It passed the MIAA's football committee by a 15-2 vote on May 9 before getting a 10-4 go-ahead from the tournament management committee the next day. Monument Mountain athletic director Paul Gibbons -- who is voting today -- said he's not in favor of the new plan. The association voted against a state tournament proposal in 2010.
"It disrupts the league schedule. You can't satisfy everybody and that's what they're trying to do here," Gibbons said. "I'm not convinced we have to have it. I'm not convinced it's a good thing. I don't really know why we have to play a tournament."
Gibbons said because the plan calls for a Western Mass. postseason "qualification" period of eight weeks, not everyone in Berkshire County's nine-team league will play each other every year. Following those eight weeks, teams not in the postseason would be matched up based on strength for two more games. Depending on travel and other considerations, Gibbons said that could be an expensive proposition. Thanksgiving Day games, none of which happen in Berkshire County, would continue but would not count toward the postseason.
Bryce, who said he will vote in favor of the plan today, said he also has concerns about the games for non-playoff qualifiers once the playoffs begin. Hoosac Valley coach Dayne Poirot, who has served on the MIAA's football committee with Bryce, said his concerns are with the current system. Creating a true state champion is critical for Poirot.
"It makes a lot of sense," Poirot said. "It puts football in line with all the other sports. It gives kids a chance to win a Western Mass. title, a state title. The proposal they put together seems pretty good."