For the second year in a row, Weedsport will be participating in an 8-man football league. District leaders made the decision to switch from 11-man last year because the team did not have enough players to safely compete at the varsity level. Student safety was the primary consideration in the decision to participate in the 8-man league again in 2019.
The Section III Football Committee – with input from the Section III Athletic Council – sought to have schools make decisions regarding mergers, eliminating programs, or making a commitment to 11 or 8-man football by Feb. 1 2019, so it could establish league/class alignments and schedules for the fall.
When the deadline to choose if Weedsport was going to play 8-man again this year approached on Feb. 1, a total of 21 students committed to playing football in the fall. That represented a decrease in the number of players on the team in 2018 (the team had 23 players in August of 2018), when the district decided to switch to 8-man. With student safety the main concern, district leaders once again made the decision to play 8-man. After the deadline, 14 more players signed up, bringing the total roster to 35 players.
“While our roster may be a bit larger than other schools in the league, I assure you that we made the decision to play 8-man with all the information we had at the time. We’re happy that the additional students signed up to play football, but we certainly did not expect it,” said Superintendent Shaun O’Connor.
“We adhered to the deadline set forth by Section III, but we still contacted Section III officials because we wanted to be as open as possible with them about the situation,” O’Connor said.
“We acknowledge that there was a surge in participation after the Feb. 1 deadline following our successful 2018 campaign, and given that, there is certainly a case to be made to play 11-man football. However, given the deadline provided by the Section III Football Committee, our team remained in the 8-man league in 2019.”
The team won its first game of the season on Sept. 20 and plays its second game on Sept. 27 at home against Bishop Grimes.