Tupper Lake running back Jordan Garrow tries to break through a Saranac Lake tackle.
Last year, the Saranac Lake Red Storm football team captured the annual Mayor’s Cup against the Tupper Lake Lumberjacks.
They’re going to be holding onto it for a while.
Section X recently announced that they are walking away from the Northern Football Conference — a joint venture between Section X and VII which brought the annual battle between the two Tri-Lakes towns back for the past nine football seasons.
“With the new schedules, there will be no way that we will be able to schedule that game,” said Saranac Lake Athletic Director Mark Farmer, who is also the Section VII football chairman.
Farmer said that Section X had made a request to end the agreement in the second of a two-year deal earlier this year, but Farmer wanted to wait to make sure all of the schools in Section VII would have sports programs.
“Each deal that we made was for two years at a time,” Farmer said. “They came to us and said that they could not financially afford to do this anymore.”
Farmer added that all of the schools involved in the merged league have expressed concern.
“All schools are now facing difficult budget issues, and the travel cost that were once not an issue have forced schools to re-think their involvement in the merging of the two leagues,” he said.
The Northern Football Conference began in 2003 to provide schools in the two sections a chance to compete against other schools within their class size, allowing for a more full schedule for the Class B, C and D teams.
Now, the Section VII league wil consist of the eight schools with football programs. Four of the programs — Beekmantown, Peru, Plattsburgh and Saranac — are Class B schools. AuSable Valley and Saranac are Class C, while Moriah and Ticonderoga are Class D.
In the regular season, each school will play each other, with home and away matchups rotating by year. After the first seven weeks, the Class B teams will start their playoffs with a semifinal round, while the Class C and D teams will play crossover games. Week nine will be the sectional championship games for each class, with winners advancing to face the Section X champion in the regional round of state play.
Farmer said that the junior varsity schedule will also change, with games to be played under the same site/same school format.
“Fans can enjoy a full day of football action,” he said.
The 2012 Section VII football season will open Labor Day weekend, with AuSable Valley hosting Saranac and Moriah hosting Plattsburgh High on Aug. 31; while Peru will host Saranac Lake and Beekmantown will host Ticonderoga Sept. 1.
As for the other half of the Mayor’s Cup rivalry, Tupper Lake will play a Section X schedule in 2011. No tentative schedule has been released.