Springfield high schools Glendale and Kickapoo will join the Central Ozark Conference (COC) beginning with the 2024-25 school year. COC schools announced the move this morning.
Glendale and Kickapoo essentially replace Branson and Carl Junction, two schools who bolted for the new Ozark Mountain Conference on October 11. Since then, schools in both the Ozark Conference and the COC have been working to settle on an arrangement that would strike a balance between competitiveness and ease of scheduling.
With the addition of the two Springfield schools, the new COC includes Carthage, Glendale, Joplin, Kickapoo, Nixa, Neosho, Ozark, Republic, Webb City, and Willard. A 10-team conference allows league members to schedule their nine-game football regular season without having to find a non-conference opponent.
“We are very excited about the addition of Kickapoo and Glendale into the COC,” said Republic activities director Trevyor Fisher. “Both of these schools will provide great competition and add to the already-established reputation of one of the best conferences in the state.”
Bus rides for Republic athletes will get shorter during conference season. The trip to Carl Junction — previously the longest in the COC — will be replaced with a trip to Glendale. That’s a savings of about an hour each way. The trip to Branson will be replaced with an eight-mile trip to Kickapoo — a savings of about a half-hour each way.