Central High returns to the Northwestern District

Justin Broughman

Central is headed back to the Northwestern District.

The Virginia High School League announced its recommended district alignment plan for 2019-20 through 2022-23 on Wednesday and one of the changes is Central moving from the Bull Run District to the Northwestern District. Central will also be moving from Class 2 to Class 3, which was announced last month.

Central Assistant Athletic Director Justin Broughman, who will take over as athletic director on July 1, said that once Central knew they would be moving up in classification, they requested to move from the Bull Run to the Northwestern.

“We talked to a lot of people around here, coaches and administrators, Miss (Central Principal Missy) Hensley and we discussed our options,” Broughman said Wednesday in a telephone interview. “We played out every scenario, including staying in the Bull Run, moving to the southern part toward the Valley District or moving up to the Northwestern District. We kind of looked at the relationships we’ve built over the years and felt like we were a little bit stronger with the Northwestern District folks.”

He said that they put in a request to move to the Northwestern District and were approved. The VHSL Redistricting and Reclassification committee then met last week and approved the move.

Broughman said they felt it was important to be in a district with Class 3 schools. The Bull Run District is made up of only Class 1 and Class 2 schools. In the postseason, the Falcons will be playing only Class 3 schools.

“When it came down to regionals, we weren’t going to be facing the Clarke County’s and Strasburg’s and Madison’s,” Broughman said. “I really want to emphasize, too, that we’ve been very blessed to be in the Bull Run for as long as we have and have built good relationships with the schools in the Bull Run. But looking at Central it just didn’t seem like it made a lot of sense to stick around and play those teams. We’re going to continue playing non-district games against Strasburg and Stonewall as much as we can, hopefully in everything.”

Broughman said he felt like the Northwestern District was a good fit as far as traveling and it helped that they know many of the schools really well and play some of them already in various sports.

The Northwestern District will now consist of 15 teams, eight Class 4 teams, and seven Class 3 teams. The Class 3 teams will be Brentsville, Manassas Park, William Monroe, Skyline, Warren County, George Mason and Central. The only addition to the Class 4 Northwestern District teams is Culpeper, who has moved up in classification.

Stonewall Jackson was officially approved to move from the Shenandoah District to the Bull Run District, along with Page County and Luray. Those three schools will join Strasburg, Clarke County, Madison County and Rappahannock County in a seven-team Bull Run District. However, East Rockingham has also requested to move from the Shenandoah District to the Bull Run, but the alignment committee put a vote on that move on hold. There will be another meeting on July 25 to decide if East Rockingham will be allowed to move to the Bull Run District. The committee will also be looking at Fort Defiance and Waynesboro’s requests to move from the Valley District to the Shenandoah District at the July 25th meeting. There will be an appeals hearing on Aug. 21 for any schools that still want to attempt to move to another district or classification. The VHSL Executive Committee will then meet in September to approve the new classification alignment.

Central was last in the Northwestern District in 2008. Moving to a new district is nothing new for Central. The Falcons were in the Bull Run District in 1996, then moved to the Shenandoah District for four years, followed by two years in the Valley District, two more years in the Shenandoah District, followed by four years in the Northwestern District and two more in the Shenandoah District. The Falcons have been in the Bull Run District since fall 2011.

Broughman said he already has most of the football schedule for the 2019-20 school year in place. The Falcons will play the six other Class 3 Northwestern District schools, Strasburg, Stonewall Jackson and Broadway, and he still has to find one more game to complete the schedule.

He said that even though the move to Class 3 will be a challenge, he feels like the athletes will handle it well.

“We’re not the smallest school in (Class) 3, I think that our kids can rise to the occasion,” Broughman said. “Nothing can ever be obtained by playing competition that’s smaller than you. You’re not going to get any better if you’re playing weaker competition. So I think it will be more challenging for us, but I think that our kids can rise to it.”