HOLLAND, Michigan — The Holland High School varsity football team will only play two more regular seasons games before ending the season early on Sept. 16.
Holland High Athletic Director Blake Muller announced the decision on Tuesday after "The Dutch" had a unusually low amount of upperclassman on the team's roster this year. Muller released a statement after the announcement, explaining the difficult decision he had to make:
"With such a low number of upperclassmen (some of whom are playing this year for the first time) we have asked sophomores to fill most roster positions against varsity competition where there is a clear physical and developmental difference on the field. We are so proud of the fight that this team has shown since the first day of practice and the work they have put in to make these first four weeks possible. From recruiting friends to join the team, to lacing up despite being physically out-manned and out-matched, the efforts of this team will be remembered as they have helped us rebuild the Holland Football program."
The Dutch have played two games so far this season, losing to Holland Christian 58-0 at the season opener and losing to Comstock Park a week later 63-8.
The two remaining games for Holland High School are on the road against Mona Shores on Sept. 9 and then a home game against Zeeland West on Sept. 16.
The decision to cut the season short was in part due to protecting Holland's younger players from possible injury. The shorter season will also give coaches and the athletic director the opportunity to focus on the junior varsity and freshman teams, which will benefit the varsity team in the future.
"It's taken a toll on us these first couple weeks," says Muller. "I'm proud that they keep getting up and keep fighting. They get knocked down and they're ready to go for the next play."
Most of the current players on the varsity team are eligible to play on the junior varsity team once the season concludes, but there are five seniors on the team whose final season will be cut short due to the announcement. Muller says it was a conversation he didn't want to have.
"It was tough," says Muller. "In my position here, it was probably the hardest conversation that I've had with a student athlete."
The school is also working on adjusting plans for the school's Homecoming Week at the end of September and will announce the new events once they are scheduled.
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