Licking County News

Licking County League

Football to be in two divisions

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Darby Riley knows about the Licking County League firsthand.

The Northridge High School football coach will be able to reminisce about his youth when the LCL resumes in August for the first time since it was disbanded in 1991.

Riley, a 1988 graduate of Newark Catholic, is excited to be able to bring his Vikings into the league.

"I have talked to my players a lot about the significance of the LCL and what it will mean to them," he said. "They will be playing with and against their friends and every (stadium) will be packed. A lot of people come to those games, and it will be an honor and a privilege for me to be able to coach in this league."

For football only, the league announced it will be split into two five-team divisions -- Granville, Lakewood, Licking Heights, Licking Valley and Watkins Memorial in one and Heath, Johnstown-Monroe, Newark Catholic, Northridge and Utica in the other.

"For right now, this alignment is just for football," said LCL commissioner Kelly Miller, who added the divisions have yet to be given names. "The teams will play each team in their division and play at least three teams from the other division."

That will mean four league games from inside a team's LCL division. The three "non-league" contests from the opposite division will count in the standings.

"I may be a little old school, but when we played in the LCL when I was in school, we played nine league games and played everyone," said Jeff Dingess, a 1983 graduate of Northridge and an assistant for the Vikings. "That's something I'd like to be able to do again."

One change will be the usual week 10 meeting between Johnstown and Northridge. That game will be on week six.

"I'm really looking forward to playing in the LCL," Johnstown defensive lineman Clayton Bullard said. "It will definitely be a challenge. I've been watching Newark Catholic go deep into the postseason for a few years and I look forward to being able to go up against them."

Watkins Memorial coach Jeff Severino said the move only makes sense for his Warriors.

"I started as an assistant at Watkins (Memorial) in 1983, so I know how important this league is for the kids," said Severino, whose team opens league play Oct. 4 at Granville. "The kids grow up playing youth league baseball and basketball against one another, and the competition is going to be unbelievable. It's going to be good to be back playing in the county."

Licking Heights will begin LCL play Oct. 4 at Lakewood.

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