By ERIC X. VICCARO
Valle Catholic High School quarterback Chase Fallert and his contemporary at Ste. Genevieve, Aiden Boyer, will be seniors during the 2022 football season.
Not only that, but Fallert and Boyer will be conference rivals.
That’s because Valle Catholic has joined the Mississippi Area Football Conference White Division, with the Warriors set to join for the 2022 season.
The MAFC White Division will be comprised of Valle Catholic, Ste. Genevieve, Park Hills Central, Potosi and Fredericktown.
“We initially decided to leave the I-55 Conference without yet having a home in the MAFC,” Valle Catholic co-athletic director and head football coach Judd Naeger said.
“We felt, in order to compete in Class 3, we needed to play some bigger schools throughout the years,” Naeger continued. “Once Perryville was voted into the I-55, it left a natural opening in the MAFC for us.”
Naeger complimented Ste. Genevieve R-II athletic director Dr. Jeff Nix, and others, for helping the Warriors find a new home.
“We are excited to add Valle to the Mississippi Area Football Conference,” Nix said. “It makes the conference stronger, and allows us to keep the conference at five members.”
Nix said it’s most likely Ste. Genevieve and Valle Catholic will not be able to play each other as early in the season as had been the case.
Typically, the Warriors and Dragons have squared off during the second Friday of the season — but the game could move to October now.
The Missouri State High School Activities Association last year bumped Valle Catholic from Class 1 to Class 3 — another factor precipitating the Warriors move to the MAFC.
Naeger said as long as current guidelines remain in effect, Valle Catholic will be Class 3 in 2021.
Expect other future impacts for the Warrior football program, including scheduling.
“This move actually makes scheduling more difficult,” Naeger said, “because we have more open dates. We are going to keep St. Pius (Festus) on the schedule in Week One, and St. Vincent in Week Five.”
The Warriors also will be adding Festus to the mix for Week Two, and St. John Vianney, a St. Louis-based high school, in Week Eight.
There seems to be excitement across the board from the entire conference with the addition of Valle Catholic.
“All the schools are considerably bigger than us, and all of them are talented now or heading in the right direction,” Naeger noted. “Ste. Genevieve is young and talented. Park Hills Central is always really, really good. Potosi and Fredericktown have new coaches that are certainly raising the bar as well.”
Valle Catholic is coming off a stellar season, reaching the Class 3 District 2 semifinals before falling to St. Mary’s 55-22. The Warriors were 9-1, which included a 35-28 victory over eventual Class 3 state champion Blair Oaks in late September 2020.
The Warriors outscored opponents 505-153.
During its time in the Interstate-55 Conference, Valle Catholic garnered four of its 15 state championships (2013-15, 2019) and the Warriors won 50 of 51 league games.