WCIA — This is the last year of the Little Okaw Valley Conference as we know it. The LOVC is one of the most historic leagues in Central Illinois dating back to the 1970’s but it will come to an end after this school year. Nine of the 12 football teams withdrew from the league in December, including the entire Northwest Division. Tri-County, Cumberland, and VGH from the Southeast also left, leaving just Martinsville, Oblong, and Palestine as the only three remaining teams.
“I think travel had mostly a lot to do with it,” Argenta-Oreana head coach Steve Kirk said. “I don’t think it was anything other than that. I think it was mostly travel. We’re close to one another, we all have the same numbers, the same talent level, so that’s really what I’m looking forward to the most.”
“Just being able to play everybody in our area,” Arcola head coach Nick Lindsey said about his reason for wanting a new conference. “Old schools, new schools, and the competitiveness of week in week out of having difficult games each week.”
Lindsey is a Heritage grad so he’s been familiar with the LOVC for years.
“It’s neat to be back with not everybody from back when I was in school but a majority of the teams and then you’re throwing in Cumberland, and LSA, and Argenta and schools like that that are going to add a whole new element to the conference,” Lindsey said. “It’s kind of a nice consignment of the history of the past and then some newer schools that are coming together.”
With Blue Ridge already a partial member of the LOVC, and independent in football this season, the addition of the Knights to the nine former LOVC schools will give them a 10-team closed conference starting in 2019.
“This year week one we have to go to Robinson which is a three hour trek,” Kirk added. “So starting next year or the year after we don’t have to make quite as long of haul in those early weeks.”