New faces coming to Southwest 10, Wolverine conferences

CASSOPOLIS — Changes are coming to the Southwest 10 Conference in football.

Bloomingdale has announced that it will be playing eight-man football this fall, while Centreville announced the hiring of a former Niles assistant as its new head football coach.

The Cardinals are joining the growing list of schools switching from 11-man to eight-man football due to declining enrollment numbers.

Bloomingdale has an enrollment of 323 students, so the Cardinals, like Bridgman in the BCS Athletic Conference, will not be eligible for the postseason. The Michigan High School Athletic Association has set a limit of 215 students for a team to be eligible for the eight-man postseason.

Despite switching to eight-man football, Bloomingdale is still finding it hard to fill its 2020 schedule, even with playing Southwestern Athletic Conference member Gobles twice.

At Centreville, former Niles assistant coach Jerry Schultz is taking over for Tyler Langs, who, after helping rebuild the Bulldogs into a Southwest 10 power, left to take over at Plainwell in the Wolverine Conference.

Schultz, a native of Granger, Indiana, was the Niles defensive coordinator for the Vikings under head coach Joe Sassano. He came to Niles after stops at Bloomington South (Indiana), where he was the freshman team’s defensive coordinator, and the varsity line coach at Elkhart Memorial (Indiana).

Langs replaces Plainwell’s interim coach Chuck Hadley who went 5-5 after replacing Darren Conklin, who resigned unexpectedly on short notice.

Langs was at Centreville three seasons. During the last two, he led the Bulldogs to 9-2 and 6-3 seasons and a spot in the playoffs.

Another Southwest 10 school will have a new face leading its football program as Tom Matthews was selected to replace Brad Manning at Hartford.

Matthews spent the last two seasons at Benton Harbor as the replacement for Elliot Uzelac. He was 7-12 with the Tigers. He has also coached at Otsego and Allegan of the Wolverine Conference, as well as Gobles.

Manning was with the Indians for three years, posting a record of 17-12. Hartford qualified for the playoffs in 2017 and 2019.

Manning is stepping away from football for family reasons.

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