Aurora Central Catholic announced Thursday that it will join the Metro Suburban Conference (MSC) effective the beginning of the 2014-2015 school year. ACC, along with six other area Suburban Christian Conference schools, including Chicago Christian, Guerin Prep, Immaculate Conception Catholic Prep, St. Edward, Walther Lutheran and Wheaton Academy, will join the current Metro Suburban Conference schools Elmwood Park, Fenton, Glenbard South, Ridgewood and Riverside-Brookfield. Illiana Christian and Timothy Christian are also members of the MSC, but do not have football programs.
The move will cap a 17-year career for the Chargers in the original Suburban Catholic, now Suburban Christian Conference.
“We have great respect for the schools, administrations, coaches and student-athletes of the Suburban Christian Conference,” Aurora Central Catholic Athletic Director Sean Bieterman said in a press release. “We carry many fond memories and relationships during our tenure in the league. We will miss the rivalries and relationships within the league. Our decision to leave the SCC was a difficult one. We are thrilled to be joining the Metro Suburban Conference and building new relationships with its schools. We feel this conference will be a great fit for the mission of our school.”
In regards to football, the SCC has not been overly kind to the Chargers since joining in 1997. Aurora Central Catholic had gone just 26-87 in conference games over that span, and qualified for the IHSA State Playoffs just twice (1997, 2012). Prior to 1997, the Chargers had won 10 conference championships, and made 13 trips to the postseason in the now-defunct Private School League.
“We have had a lot of great memories of our time in the SCC,” ACC Head Coach Brian Casey said. “It is sad to an extent, I played my high school career in this conference, a lot of my assistant coaches grew up playing in this conference. In the years I have been around our program, we have played a lot of great teams, and learned from a lot of great coaches. As a football program, and as a school, we have nothing but respect for the Suburban Catholic (Christian) Conference and its schools.”
It has been undetermined how the new divisions of the Metro Suburban Conference will be aligned at this time, however, geographical considerations and school size would seem like realistic jumping points. The Metro qualified two schools into the 2012 IHSA Playoffs (Elmwood Park and Glenbard South), and feature schools whose football classification range from 4A-6A.
“We do not know a lot about those programs at this point in time,” Casey said. ”I do know Jeremy Cordell (Glenbard South Head Coach) a bit, and we have seen some of them in summer passing tournaments, but not a lot. At this point, the Metro is in the distant future, we are focusing all of our time on this fall, and making sure we continue to build on what we started last season.”
Perhaps the biggest blow to the conference change would be the end of the ACC-Marmion rivalry, a series that the Cadets hold a 17-10-2 all-time advantage. The October 18th (Week 8) game at Bob Stewart Field figures to be the final match-up between the two Aurora schools in league play. However, both schools could still end up on the schedule in non-conference action.
The Chargers final season in the Suburban Christian Conference will begin on August 30th, as ACC hosts Oostburg (WI) at Bob Stewart Field. The final conference game in the SCC will also take place at home on October 25th against the four-time defending Class 5A State Champion, Montini.