By Sarah Pridgeon
First steps have been taken to combine Sundance High School’s Bulldogs with the Upton Bobcats in the fall to address low player numbers and allow both schools to play an 11-man season.
“We met with the parents and kids, who are in favor,” says Mark Broderson, Principal of Sundance High School. “Lon Streib, Superintendent, said we would do what’s best for the kids, but hasn’t yet officially approved the plan.”
The student councils from both schools meet this week for the first time to discuss the finer details of merging the teams. They will make proposals for the board to consider regarding, for example, what colors the teams should wear – probably, says Broderson, combining the teams’ current red and blue – and what the united team should be called.
“It’s also been decided that we’ll play two home games here, and two in Upton,” confirms Broderson. “We’ll practice for a week at a time at each site. Practices will be based on where that week’s game is and school schedules and, because of the dates when the schools begin, the first week of practice looks like it will be in Sundance and the second week in Upton.”
This week’s meeting is the first opportunity for the players and coaches to get to know one another. Although the district is fairly small and the coaches know one another, says Broderson, they are unfamiliar with one another’s teams.
“When we go into the fall camp, we want everyone to know who’s there and what personalities and talent we have in the team,” says Broderson. “Coaching duties will be split between the staffs: someone will have offense, someone defense. Once we decide which coach is responsible for what, their duties will likely remain that way for the season.”
Merging the Bobcats with the Bulldogs was suggested when it became clear that not enough students had signed up for next season’s football at either school. The next classification of football teams takes place in two years, before which both the Bulldogs and the Bobcats are locked in to 11-man football and cannot become a six-man team.
It’s hoped, however, that combining the teams will keep the 11-man schedule alive, concludes Broderson. “Down the road, we’ll hopefully be able to bring it back to the district.”