Prep football conference realignment: DVC merging with Southwest Suburban Conference

The DuPage Valley Conference has found its football solution.

According to officials, starting next season the DVC will merge with the Southwest Suburban Conference to form a to-be-named league of 15 schools for football only.

The two conferences began collaborating this season by combining on Week 3 crossover games. But with Bolingbrook's departure next school year to the Southwest Prairie Conference, the SWSC needed its own longterm football solution.

In 2024, the nine football teams in the SWSC will merge with the six from the DVC – DeKalb, Metea Valley, Naperville Central, Naperville North, Neuqua Valley and Waubonsie Valley – into a conference with three divisions of five.

The divisions will be formed based on a formula of enrollment and success. In addition to teams playing the other four members of a division, crossovers between the divisions will help fill the remainder of the schedules. Every team will play nonconference games in the first two weeks.

“It puts us in a situation where we're going to be able to work with another conference and fill schedules,” said Naperville North Athletic Director Bob Quinn. “We're not going to have to go out of state. That's the big thing.”

Ever since the formation of the DuKane Conference in 2018 and the accompanying departure of several DVC schools, the DVC football teams have struggled to piece together schedules without playing out-of-state teams or other DVC teams twice in a season.

The new league eliminates the majority of those problems, although seven schools outside the top division still will need to fill a bye week after the first two weeks of the season.

The conference will have Blue, Red and Green Divisions. The Blue will feature the five teams scoring highest on the enrollment and success formula, the Red will have the next five and the Green the bottom five.

For 2024 – the divisions will be reevaluated after next season – the Blue will include Homewood-Flossmoor, Lincoln-Way East, Lockport, Naperville North and Neuqua Valley. The Red will have Andrew, Lincoln-Way West, Metea Valley, Naperville Central and Sandburg. The Green will feature Bradley-Bourbonnais, DeKalb, Lincoln-Way Central, Stagg and Waubonsie Valley.

A downside of the merger is having traditional rivals separated by division. Next season, that means Naperville Central and Naperville North will need to play each other in a nonconference game Week 1 or Week 2. Neuqua Valley and Waubonsie Valley are in the same situation.

“We believe that's important, and we believe our communities deserve that game,” Quinn said of the crosstown game against Naperville Central. “We want to continue that game.”

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