Georgetown Prep’s football team will once again compete in the Interstate Athletic Conference beginning next season, the conference announced Friday in a news release.
The Little Hoyas were voted out of the conference after the 2003 season, in which they won their fourth consecutive IAC title. The Rockville institution played one more season in the conference, going 4-6 in 2004. The IAC is a six-team league founded in 1958 that includes St. Albans, Bullis, Landon, Episcopal and St. Stephen’s and St. Agnes.
The decision to ban the Hoyas for the second time in four decades (they’d also been asked to leave in 1970) came because of the enrollment advantage Prep held over its IAC competitors and its increased efforts to draw top football talent to the school— efforts other conference schools were not willing or able to match. As then-conference president Tom Farquhar told the Post in 2004, “Prep’s level of competitiveness transcended what the other schools could even dream about.”
Since then, the Little Hoyas have played IAC competition in every sport but football, though an annual staple of its independent schedule is the matchup with IAC rival Landon in the “Battle of Bethesda.” This year the Little Hoyas played three soon-to-be conference opponents, Landon, Bullis, and St. Albans, and went 1-2 in those games.
“Georgetown Prep has been a valued member of the IAC since its inception, and we welcome the football program back into league competition,” Landon headmaster and IAC President David Armstrong said in Friday’s release. “League members are also excited to welcome a new President from Prep into our community, someone who will carry on, we are certain, the rich traditions of the school and the athletic mission of the IAC.”
Georgetown Prep can still supply its football roster from a much larger student pool than any other IAC school. Prep’s all-male student body in grades 9-12 has a listed enrollment of 490. Landon, also an all-boys school, has an enrollment of 683 students in grades 3-12, and St. Alban’s, also all-male, has 575 students in grades 4-12. Bullis, which is co-ed, is home to 461 total students in its upper school, and St. Stephen’s and St. Agnes has 456 total high school students, male and female.
But, as it seemingly has at other schools like Landon and Bullis, developing a powerhouse Prep football team has taken a backseat to a nationally relevant lacrosse squad — Georgetown Prep was ranked 32nd nationally in laxpower.com’s high school rankings — and so the Little Hoyas are no longer drawing markedly better gridiron talent than the other IAC schools.
Bullis won this year’s IAC football championship with a 9-1 record, and beat IAC opponents by a combined score of 175-25 in four games. The Bulldogs beat Prep 35-7 in the last game of the regular season.