Fort Loramie has received an invitation from the Northwest Conference and could keep one regular opponent from its schedule the last three years.
The NWC has issued invitations to Lima Central Catholic for all sports and Fort Loramie for football only. Fort Loramie’s board of education is scheduled to meet Monday to vote on membership in the conference, which would start in 2024.
Fort Loramie, which is in the Shelby County Athletic League for all other sports, started its football program in 2005. The Redskins joined the Northwest Central Conference in 2012 and stayed in the league until 2016, after which it joined the Cross County Conference.
The CCC broke apart after the 2020 season, leaving Fort Loramie’s football program without a conference.
The school’s athletic department has successfully amassed 10-game schedules each of the last three seasons, though not without a lot of work — and a lot of driving for the team and fans.
One of the closest independent teams Fort Loramie was able to schedule was Lima Central Catholic, which has accepted an invitation to join the NWC in all sports.
The invitations come after Ada and Leipsic announced they were leaving the NWC for the Blanchard Valley Conference.
NWC commisoner Jon Derryberry said in a news release member schools met Wednesday and voted unanimously to extend an invitation to LCC.
“First off they are centrally located to all the schools and that is something we were looking at,” Derryberry told the Lima News. “They’ve got good facilities. Their educational values are high. Their sports teams have been traditionally strong. They are going to be one of the smaller schools in the league as far as numbers are and a league full-time member is better than seven full-time and two football only, because that was initially considered.”
LCC was a member of from 2006 to 2013, when it was voted out by conference members.
Derryberry told the Lima News initial discussions earlier this summer were about adding two teams as football only members but as he talked more with LCC it was decided to add it as a full-time member.
“We’ve been working on this for a couple of months,” Derryberry said. “We are happy to have them back and it should lend some credence overall to all the sports.”
Fort Loramie is the lone school that would be a football only member; Derryberry said it brings a strong football tradition with it and helps fill out the schedule in the NWC.
“It is a home-home two years for sure and they understand that we would entertain full-time membership, and we understand they may possibly entertain membership elsewhere,” Derryberry said. “Fort Loramie might be a little bit of travel for some but it is going to be every other year and it is good football and I think it would lend more credence to the league also.”
With the start of the 2024-25 school year, the NWC will be composed of full-time members Allen East, Bluffton, Columbus Grove, Crestview, Delphos Jefferson, Lima Central Catholic, Lincolnview and Spencerville. Lincolnview does not play football.