Thursday, October 27, 2011

Vikings go to Eight-Man Football

It should be no big surprise that the Northwood Anchor reports the enrollment of N-K is in a stage of decline, and the recent recommendation of the coach and AD to go to an 8-man program in 2012 reflects the problem.

Fifty years ago the graduating class was somewhere between 60 and 70 students annually, and today the entire high school will be housing 100-120 students for the foreseeable future.  If you're responsible for programs, as the board and administration are, you're looking at a significant issue.

How can you provide competitive services and curriculum at those levels?  Your high school staff has to be reduced at least 40% from the days of yore, and curriculum is probably provided through a sharing arrangement with other school districts, and that is not easily done for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is that a top-notch math teacher can select whatever job he or she wants.  And traveling from Northwood to Manly or Lake Mills for half your assignment, on a daily basis, leaves little to be desired.

The N-K school district appears to have gotten boxed in or left behind for whatever reason, as other area districts did their merging.  So you're at the mercy of what's available, and in the case of the local gridiron heroes that means the JV will need to travel longer distance, possibly play both 8- and 11-man football, or even 9-man football against Minnesota schools just to have the program.

As freshmen, we had 13 players on our frosh-soph team.  That meant two available subs standing on the sideline and a coach, Jon Swenson, holding his breath and hoping nobody on the field got hurt.  Fortunately our team size grew as the Kensett guys came on board in the future, and the reflection here is to consider that at least for that year we faced what they face today - scarcity.

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