Carson and Bishop Manogue, shown in last season’s Northern 5A regional playoffs game, will play the 2023 football season at different levels. The Senators are part of the new 5A Division III alignment; the Miners are in Division II.
Photo by Carter Eckl.
High school football in Northern Nevada has a whole new look this fall.
It took a long series of meetings earlier in the year to make it happen, but the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association has realigned its football classifications for the next two seasons. The overall classes will retain their familiar names — 5A, 4A, etc. — but there are seismic changes in both league lineups and playoff formats.
Here’s an overview of what is changing and what it means for area schools such as Carson, Douglas and Fallon.
Why are there changes at all?
The NIAA has tasked its Realignment Committee with tracking how teams perform in every sport and possibly recommending changes.
At the state level, southern Nevada football teams — particularly Bishop Gorman — have routinely dominated their Northern counterparts over the last three decades. The committee’s metrics clearly showed that some sort of changes were needed, particularly at the 5A level.
What are the major changes?
The big changes are all at the 5A level, where the class will now be split into three divisions, each of which will award a state championship.
The 4A level will remain a Clark County-only formation, and the 3A, 2A and 1A levels will look much as they have in recent years, although there has been some movement up or down for some schools. Notably, defending 2A state champion The Meadows has moved up to the 3A level.
In the North, Dayton has shifted to independent status, leaving the Northern 2A at nine teams.
What do the 5A’s divisions look like?
Class 5A will use three divisions, based upon results over the past two seasons.
• Division I: Seven schools, all in the south.
• Division II: 13 schools, six in the Northern Region — Bishop Manogue, Damonte Ranch, McQueen, Reno, Reed, Spanish Springs.
• Division III: 12 schools, six in the Northern Region — Carson, Douglas, Galena Hug, North Valleys, Wooster.
How will playoffs work?
• In the 5A, Division I will have a combined region and state bracket. All seven teams will qualify.
• In 5A Divisions II and III, every team will qualify for its regional playoffs. The Northern and Southern winners will meet to determine state champions.
• The Northern 3A playoffs have been expanded to include all eight remaining teams.
So there are now three 5A state championships?
Will the 5A use promotion and relegation?
Yes. And so will the 4A.
Following the 2023 season, state champions will move up one level; last-place finishers will move down.
5A DIV. III
(For 2023 season)