Major changes coming for 2023 Vermont high school football season

5 teams changing divisions, VIFL introduces “league structure”
Published: Feb. 4, 2023 at 12:44 PM EST
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MONTPELIER, Vt. (WCAX) - The 2023 Vermont high school football season will look a lot different from previous years, with five teams moving up to a bigger division and the introduction of a new scheduling format. The VIFL and VPA met multiple times over the past few months on a new alignment structure, with more of a focus on school size to determine which division each team belongs in.

After the 2022 season saw just nine teams in the state’s top division, D1 will move back to 11 schools this Fall. Mt. Anthony returns after six years in D2, including their state title campaign last year, as does Brattleboro, a D2 outfit since 2019. The three former D2 schools who dropped down to D3 in 2022 will all move back up: Rice, Mt. Abe, and Milton returning to the second division.

By a matter of number of boys in the school, 2023 should have seen Mt. Mansfield and North Country move up to D1 with Hartford and Middlebury moving down. But the traditional power Hurricanes and Tigers successfully petitioned to stay up, keeping the Cougars and Falcons in D2.

D2 powers Bellows Falls and Fair Haven were also slated to move down to D3 with Missisquoi moving up to replace them, but the Bulldogs and Slaters will instead play up and keep the Thunderbirds in D3.

The other major change is the introduction of a “league” structure for regular season scheduling. The state’s 31 teams have been divided into five groups of 6 or 7 teams that cross divisional lines. The leagues will be based on geography while trying to maintain competitive balance.

New scheduling format for Vermont high school football
New scheduling format for Vermont high school football(VIFL/VPA)