WHITE CLOUD, Mich. — It’s a difficult and frankly emotional decision to make. A West Michigan high is school pulling their varsity football season this year.
In 2010 White Cloud High School was forced to throw in the towel, and today similar circumstances are causing the school to pull their games this year.
“It’s a big impact,” said White Cloud Schools Superintendent Ed Canning.
Canning grew up at this school, he knows how important football is.“It’s a rallying point, it begins the year, it’s homecoming," Canning said.
But this season, there are simply not enough players to fill the varsity team.
“First day of practice we had six players. Juniors and seniors showed up and by the end of the first week we were down to five," Canning said.
The school tried to everything to fill the team.
“We looked at options with our JV players, were any of them able to be moved up and the ones that we thought were physically able would only get us to eight or nine players,” Canning said.
The Junior Varsity football team is excelling.
“It’s not discouraging seeing the level of participation at the seventh and eighth grade level," Canning said.
Marching band, cheerleading and the athletic organization in general will feel the impact without Friday night football.
“Between volleyball, football, and boys and girls basketball that’s 80 percent of the revenue that covers our athletic department," Canning said.
This isn’t the first time White Could has had to punt their season away.
“Having lived it in 2010 - I was really proud of our community on how well they handled it," Canning said. "The transformation of ‘hey let’s get this fixed, let’s take care of it’ and they rallied around and in 2010 we still had a homecoming week, we had a community pep rally, the community really stepped up and showed a lot of pride."
He’s hopeful the community will react the same way this year, and that the junior varsity team will continue to build their strength and confidence for future years.
“Sometimes having a situation like this brings out the best, especially I’ve seen it in this town, I’ve grown up here that difficult situations require some grit, some determination, and eventually we’ll overcome, and I expect success in our program," Canning said.
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