Morenci denied AIA appeal, will be in 3A for football next season

Jon Johnson Photo/Gila Herald: The Morenci Wildcats will move up to the 3A Conference for football next season. The school’s appeal aganst the move was denied by the AIA Executive Board on Tuesday.

By Jon Johnson

MORENCI – The Morenci Wildcats climbed to the top of the hill the past two years in the 2A Conference but couldn’t quite make it over, and now they will have to try the same thing in the 3A Conference. 

Morenci finished runner-up twice and only lost to 2A State Champion Pima during the regular season this year. It will now join 3A Conference Runner-up Thatcher and Safford in the 3A Conference for football.  

Due to its success on the gridiron, the Arizona Interscholastic Association’s football reclassification committee moved Morenci up a division to 3A. The team’s appeal to remain in 2A was denied on Tuesday. 

The AIA Executive Board did grant a few schools’ requests, including some to go down a division. 

Palo Verde Magnet and Phoenix Christian were both granted their appeals to move from 3A to 2A, and Benjamin Franklin will be joining Morenci in the 3A Conference after it won its appeal down from 4A. 

Parker and Arizona Lutheran, the teams Morenci beat in the semifinals and lost to the final in 2021, respectively,  will also make their return to the 2A due to AIA bylaw. 

It was also reported by Richard Obert of the Arizona Republic, and that Benson’s appeal from 3A to 2A has been approved. However, the AIA still has them currently listed in the 3A Conference. 

Regions are set to be finalized on Jan. 24.