PITTSFIELD -- There may be a state championship at the end of the football rainbow this year. But if Berkshire County's football coaches have their way, the county championship will still be played for.
Meeting after media night at Pittsfield High School, the league's coaches agreed to a proposal where the top two teams in the county will get to play for the title.
"We have to save the Berkshire County championship," Mount Greylock coach Shaun Flaherty said. "We have to play that game."
Under the plan, advanced by Wahconah football coach Gary Campbell Jr., a power rating will determine the top two county teams as of Oct. 28, when the pre-tournament football schedule ends. Those top two teams will play either on Thanksgiving Eve or Thanksgiving morning.
Campbell said that the coaches will bring it up to the athletic directors for their September meeting, late next week.
"It's really status quo from their part, in other words, the two teams playing just like it's always been," said Campbell.
The road to a county championship has changed, but the end result has been the same. Some years, the top four teams have entered a playoff while more recently, the regular-season champion had a bye and the next two teams in the standings played for the right to face the regular-season champion.
"It's the most viable solution," said Flaherty. "The tournament really does change things and made it a real challenge how to salvage that game. I think this is the best solution for it."
No Berkshire County team plays every other team because of the new playoff system. It's why the coaches feel it is important to keep playing a county championship game, no matter how it is determined.
"We didn't want to lose our identity," said Campbell. "With the state playoff and us not all playing each other, you kind of lose that Berkshire County identity. This, hopefully, keeps that identity.
"That weekend, we've always had great crowds."
If a team in the county championship is fortunate enough to play for a state title that first Saturday in December at Gillette Stadium, it would give that squad an extra game to prepare for the final.
But to a man, the county's coaches still want to be able to hoist that trophy at Thanksgiving.
"It's been an important part of Berkshire County football for a long time," said Drury coach Bill Bryce. "To get away from it and not have a true championship is something we really are trying to avoid."
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