On Saturday, March 7th the West Central Football League board met for their 2020 spring meeting. After another successful year of Little League football, the WCFL Board was ready to continue improving the league for their respective programs and most importantly, for the players themselves. However, it was the review of the 2019 season that stole the show.
Although the 2019 season has been over for quite a while now, there are some things that many may not have noticed about the seasons end. One thing that stood out to the WCFL Board was that every program in the league made the playoffs. This wasn’t because the league has an “everyone makes it” rule either. With nine teams in the league and only six playoff spots, the math adds up to where at least three teams would be left out. So not every team made the cut, but every program did.
In the 3rd and 4th grade division was Mansfield, Hackett, Mountainburg, Lavaca, JC Westside, and Cedarville. That left West Fork and Greenland out of the 3rd and 4th grade Playoffs. As fate would have it, Greenland and West Fork got their fair share in the 5th and 6th grade Playoffs as they joined Mansfield, Hackett, Lavaca, and Magazine. With nothing given and everything earned by each program, the WCFL as a whole proved by definition what a competitive and balanced league can be at its very best.
Another point of emphasis was the growth in all of the programs in the league. In its first two years, the WCFL has seen three different programs win league Championships. Mansfield has won back to back championships in the 3rd and 4th grade while Hackett and Magazine have successfully brought home the gold in the 5th and 6th grade. A key team to take note of was the 2019 3rd and 4th grade Mountainburg Dragons. The Dragons struggled to make the Playoffs with a 4-3 regular-season record which gave them the final slot in the Playoffs as the #6 seed. Mountainburg then rolled past rivals #4 Cedarville in Pirates territory and beat #2 Hackett to punch their ticket to their first WCFL Championship game. Although the Dragons lost to Mansfield in the championship round, they proved that anyone in the WCFL can succeed.
With the past behind the league now, the meeting shifted to business where there was a board shakeup. Shortly after the 2019 season ended, Cedarville’s Keith Ridgeway and Greenland’s Jeremy Selvey stepped down from their WCFL Representative positions. At the meeting itself, President Doug Powell (Magazine), Vice President Adam Hamilton (Mountainburg), Treasurer Josh Scott (Magazine), Secretary Adam Hecox (Mansfield), and Dave Slavens (Hackett) stepped down from their respective positions also.
Founder of the league, Powell, stepped down due to his change in schools as he was hired by the Waldron School District as their high school head football coach. Slavens, Ridgeway, and Selvey stepped down for personal and family reasons. Hecox and Scott merely shuffled to new positions on the board and Hamilton solely maintained his Representative spot for Mountainburg. With those positions vacated, the league gained some fresh blood to help it move into the future as David Moore (Mansfield), Aaron Lanning (Cedarville), and Stormy Swinson (Greenland) stepped up to fill the representative voids. Slavens replacement for the Hackett representative is still to be determined.
With fresh faces at the table and positions available, the WCFL Board voted on board positions to close out the meeting. Adam Hecox (Mansfield) replaced Doug Powell as the WCFL President, Aaron Lanning (Cedarville) replaced Adam Hamilton (Mountainburg) as Vice President, Stormy Swinson (Greenland) replaced Josh Scott (Magazine) as Treasurer, and Scott replaced Hecox as Secretary. Along with Moore, Lanning, and Swinson, town representatives will be, Adam Hamilton (Mountainburg), Josh Scott (Magazine), Clay Bryant (JC Westside), Taylor Genz (West Fork), and Alanna Brunson (Lavaca).
Although the WCFL is only going into its third season, the league has made quite an impact on the programs and communities. Vice President Aaron Lanning said “The WCFL has been great for our program. All of the teams we are competing against are the same size schools which creates a perfect kind of competition for our kids. The teams in the league have around the same size and amount of players as us. When we played bigger conferences in the area (mainly being Van Buren) it was hard to keep kids interested in the sport of football. Cedarville has always had smaller kids and smaller numbers so in the Van Buren league kids are just getting beat down. We have had a record number of kids signing up since joining the league two years ago which is great for Cedarville’s football program as a whole from elementary up to high school. We signed up over 100 kids last year for football and cheerleading as well as also having a 1st and 2nd grade football and cheerleading team which helps with our numbers.”
Magazine resident and #1 Rattler fan, Brandy Moore, had this to say about the West Central Football League “Ever since Magazine joined the WCFL, I have seen our players’ confidence and sense of school pride grow tremendously. It has been such a blessing to be a part of a league and program that pushes our athletes to be better players as well as better students and citizens.”