Monday, October 31, 2016

Future of Football in Williams Bay

Posted by Wayne Anderson in General  |  Post a comment



The Fall sports seasons are almost completed, except for our Badger Co-op Girls Swimming team – who won conference again this past weekend for the fifth year in a row. Katelyn O’Brien, a senior from Williams Bay, won the conference championship in the 50 free style, 100 breaststroke, 200 free relay and the 400 free relay events. Our volleyball, cross country, tennis, football and soccer teams also had very successful seasons. It was exciting to watch our athletes do so well – they are excellent representatives for our school district.

The fall sport that was noticeably absent from our home field this year was football. As you may recall, we had to cancel our 2016 Football season this year because we did not have enough players to field a team. We are very appreciative that the Delavan-Darien School District allowed our players the opportunity to play football on their junior varsity and freshman football team. They were not allowed to play at the varsity level because we had not applied to be a coop during the time frame set by the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association (WIAA).

At the November 14, 2016, Board of Education meeting, the School Board will discuss and potentially act on the future of our football program for the upcoming seasons. There are three possible options:

1)      Enter a formal football cooperative agreement with the Delavan-Darien School District;

2)      Field an 11-man football team; or

3)      Go to 8-man football and field an 8-man football team.

In the first option, if we enter a formal football coop with the Delavan-Darien School District our athletes will have the option to play on the varsity, junior varsity and freshman teams. This option would positively give our athletes the ability to play football in 2017, no matter how many of our athletes decided to go out for football in the fall. A coop is a two-year agreement between the school districts. Cooperative teams are not something new to the Bay; we currently have cooperative teams in swimming, tennis, soccer, wrestling and track. Next year, we will add cross country to our cooperative team list. Delavan-Darien plays 11-man football, so our athletes will compete for positions on the team alongside the athletes from Delavan-Darien. One of the benefits of this option is that our athletes and parents are assured that their son or daughter will have the opportunity to try out for a football team without fearing that the season will be cancelled for lack of numbers. The downside of this option is that we will probably not have any football games on our home field.

The other two options would have Williams Bay bring back our own independent football program. If either one of these options are considered, we felt to increase participation we would need to have a coaching staff made up of teachers from within the school district. Mr. Jon Tomaszewski has agreed to be our head football coach and Matt Dunlap, Caleb Kleinhans, Shane Cullian and Alan Swenson have also agreed to be part of the coaching staff. In the past, we have played 11-man football and all the teams in the Trailways Conference play 11-man football. The benefit of going to this option is that we would resume our current program and play against opponents both home and away. The downside of this option is if we barely have enough numbers to field a team then our youngest players are forced to play against individuals that are probably older and bigger. Also, if we find we do not have enough players for a team our senior athletes would probably not be able to play football in the fall.

If the district decides to play 8-man football then it takes less players to field a team.  This would help our younger student-athletes avoid playing against upper classmen and also provide them with the opportunity to develop their skills. There are several schools in the State that have went to 8-man football, so we would be able to schedule other opponents who are also playing 8-man football. We already have some rather long road trips, so playing schools that are some distance from us would not be something out of the ordinary. In 2018, the WIAA will be having a State playoff series for all schools that play 8-man football.

The Board of Education, administration and athletic department are committed to making the best decision that we can for the school district. However, to have enough information to make this decision, we need your feedback. On Wednesday, November 9, 2016, we will be having a student/parent meeting for all individuals interested in playing football in the fall of 2017. The meeting will start at 6:00 p.m. and will meet in the High School library. We want to hear the thoughts, feelings and concerns of the students and their parents prior to having to make such an important decision. If you have a son or daughter interested in playing football in the fall of 2017, I encourage you to attend this meeting and provide us with your thoughts and opinions. They really do matter!

As always thank you for your support of our students, staff and community.

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