Bayless goes to I-55

Bayless replaces Crystal City in the I-55 football conference

The St. Vincent football schedule will look a bit different next season.

Crystal City, who has been a staple on the Indians’ schedule and in the I-55 conference for many years has left the group to become independent.

Bayless High School will replace the Hornets in the conference that includes St. Vincent, Grandview, Herculaneum, Jefferson, St. Pius X, and Valle Catholic.

Crystal City had seen declining numbers had made it very hard for the Hornets to field a competitive squad. The Hornets are 1-34 since 2017 and had just 17 players on its roster to begin the season. 

That number was whittled down to just 14 players when the Indians took on the Hornets in week 6 because of injuries, a game St. Vincent won 42-0. 

St. Vincent had defeated Crystal City by a combined score of 132-26 in that three year span. 

“Crystal City is going to look for teams that they can compete with, because their numbers are very low,” St. Vincent Athletic Director Bruce Valleroy said. “Bayless showed interest in joining our conference and they agreed to take Crystal City’s order of conference games and we, as a conference agreed unanimously for them to join.”

The conference and Bayless agreed to a two-year contract, but Valleroy noted that the agreement will probably span more than the agreed upon two seasons.

“I do not see Crystal City changing in the next two years unless their numbers improve by a lot.,” Valleroy said. “If they ever come back to the conference, I see that as something that will happen way,way down the line.”

Bayless just finished its second varsity football season this past year, finishing with a record of 2-8, a one win improvement from the year prior. 

There are some common opponents between St. Vincent and Bayless, as the Bronchos have played St. Pius X, Valle and Windsor the past two seasons, losing all six games.

But there are some advantages for the Indians when it comes to its new conference opponent. Bayless will be the only Class 3 school in the football-only conference. St. Vincent and Valle Catholic are in Class 1 and Grandview, Herculaneum, Jefferson and St. Pius X are in Class 2. St. Vincent is the farhest school in the conference to Bayless, about 75 miles off I-55. 

The school has a enrollment of 500 students and had 39 players in the program, which is enough for a JV squad. Crystal City did not have a junior varsity team for the last three seasons.

“Bayless just wanted to be part of a conference,” Valleroy said. “They had been independent and they felt this move would help the football program in the future because they could get their kids some all conference honors. 

In all Valleroy felt it was a win-win for everyone involved.

“We needed someone to fill our void and they felt like this was a good fit for them. With football about eight months away it would have been difficult to fill that hole because all the schools have their schedules set for the next two years,” Valleroy said. “Now that’s something we don’t have to worry about.”

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