Sports

Rebuilding YSHS football

Football may return to Yellow Springs High School this year if efforts to organize a team by new Head Coach Clayton Wolfe and new Athletic Director Steve Rossi are successful.

The season will move forward if 16 players commit by the second week of the school year, which begins Aug. 24. So far 13 players have showed up since conditioning began in mid-July, though practice numbers have dwindled in recent weeks. A full junior varsity schedule has been arranged, with the first game on Saturday, Sept. 3 at Troy Christian.

Practices are Monday through Friday at 7 p.m. at the field next to McKinney School. Anyone is welcome, including athletes already playing another fall sport such as soccer.

“Football has always been able to set the tone for a high school year, especially in Ohio,” Rossi said this week. “The atmosphere and anticipation of a Friday football game can energize the whole school.”

“It’s all about whether they want to make the commitment — they have to want to play,” said Wolfe, a 2006 YSHS graduate and former right guard and defensive tackle on the team. Wolfe also played football at Central State University and was an assistant coach for the Bulldogs in 2008.

Last year’s football season was cancelled for the first time since 1993 when the high school program was only able to field 11 players, far below the 18 the school district required at the time. In 2009 the team finished 2–8 and 0–3 in the Metro Buckeye Conference with a roster of 20 players.

McKinney Middle School, which fielded a team last year, will do so again this year. But a youth program for fourth, fifth and sixth graders will be necessary to truly re-build the high school program, Wolfe said.

Equipment, already being re-conditioned for the season, is free of charge and athletes would only have to purchase a set of cleats.

Those joining the team would gain confidence, build character, grow stronger physically and bond with their teammates, Rossi said.

“You really bond because so much of what you do depends upon everyone else,” Rossi said. “And you can’t quit because everyone else needs you.”

Joining the team has another selling point, Rossi said.

“They can be part of something that’s pretty special — they can consider themselves the group that re-built football,” he said.

Wolfe is even more exuberant about high school football.

“It’s the best time of your life,” he said.

 

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