Fighting Irish defenders Ben Krause (5) and Myles Mitchell (35) take down Clifton Central ballcarrier Caden Perry (5) last season during the teams' Sangamon Valley Conference meeting in Seneca. Three of the league's schools announced Wednesday their intention to leave the conference and join the Vermilion Valley for the start of the 2021-22 school year,
Fighting Irish defenders Ben Krause (5) and Myles Mitchell (35) take down Clifton Central ballcarrier Caden Perry (5) last season during the teams' Sangamon Valley Conference meeting in Seneca. Three of the league's schools announced Wednesday their intention to leave the conference and join the Vermilion Valley for the start of the 2021-22 school year, — Shaw Media | file

Three short years ago, Seneca High School voted to join the downstate Sangamon Valley Conference in football and the local Tri-County Conference for most other sports and activities.

Now, it appears at least the Fighting Irish football program will need to start searching for another new conference home.

The Champaign News-Gazette reported Wednesday it received an email from Watseka athletic director Barry Bauer announcing Watseka, Iroqouis West and Cissna Park have all decided to depart the Sangamon Valley Conference to join the Vermilion Valley Conference beginning with the 2021-22 school year. Paxton-Buckley-Loda earlier this year already announced its intentions to leave the Sangamon Valley for the Illini Prairie, also in 2021-22.

With Milford-Cissna Park a member of the Illinois 8-Man Football Association and not playing the traditional 11-man game, Seneca's football teams took Cissna Park's place in the eight-school Sangamon Valley for football only, also participating in the league's annual wrestling tournament.

Rounding out the conference in all sports were the four departing members as well as Clifton Central, Dwight and Momence.

During its first two years in the Sangamon Valley, Seneca football has posted a 9-10 overall record with a playoff appearance in 2019, going 7-5 in conference play.

In other sports, Seneca has had a successful start as a member of the Tri-County Conference, winning or competing for conference titles in nearly every season.

The Vermilion Valley beginning in 2021-22 is slated to consist of: Watseka, Cissna Park, Iroquois West, Bismarck-Henning/Rossville-Alvin, Hoopeston Area, Salt Fork, Oakwood, Danville Schlarman, Westville, Milford, Chrisman, Armstrong-Potomac and Georgetown-Ridge Farm.