By Sarah Pridgeon
The combined football team from the schools of Sundance and Upton will display colors of red, white and blue for the coming year, with a patriot-style logo, and have chosen the name “Upton Sundance Patriots,” says Sundance High School Principal Mark Broderson.
The Patriots will wear the blue helmets traditionally sported by the Upton team with a decal bearing the logo, which is currently being worked on, and will swap between the red and blue pants of each team. A new set of game jerseys has been purchased by the school, along with optional practice jerseys.
The team’s Sundance coaches will include Todd Klopp from Colorado, a new teacher at the elementary school, Ray Moore, a Black Hills State University student, and long-time coach Jett Schloredt. The two Upton coaches will be Andy Garland and Clark Coberly.
Each school will hold its own Homecoming, with Sundance’s event planned for September 28. The team is expected to have between 20 and 25 members, as there were 21-22 present at football camp, and will host two home games in Sundance and two in Upton.
The Patriots’ schedule, however, may be subject to adjustments and is not yet finalized, says Broderson. At present, away games are listed as against Moorcroft on August 25, Lingle on September 7, Pine Bluffs on October 5 and Southeast on October 12.
Home games in Sundance are provisionally scheduled for September 28 against Hill City and Lusk on October 19. Those played in Upton are currently listed as against Shoshoni on August 31 and NSI on September 14.
“There are also four Junior Varsity games on the schedule,” says Broderson. “Combining the teams means we can have those games and give some field time and experience to the underclassmen– neither school could do that before, because of numbers.”
The four Junior Varsity games will be played against Newcastle on September 4, Wright on September 10, Moorcroft on September 17 and Sage Valley on October 1.
The Patriots won’t know until the first day of school whether they will remain a 1A team or be upgraded to 2A, Broderson continues. Classification depends on enrolment figures and is based on the total number of eligible boys enrolled at the two schools.
“No matter what happens, we’ll be playing a 1A schedule,” Broderson explains. “We’re very close to remaining in 1A but, if we are classed as 2A, we won’t be eligible for the post-season play-offs.”
Eligibility will be assessed year by year, which means that, although the combined team is a two-year commitment, the class the Patriots fall into for the school year beginning in 2013 will again depend on that year’s enrolment figures.
“In two years’ time, we will look again,” says Broderson. “Sundance would like to have its own team but, with the numbers we have, we wouldn’t survive an 11-man season, because of injury and so on. Upton was in the same boat, so for now this works for us, but in the future we would like to have our own team again.”
To view the Patriots’ schedule and check for adjustments, visit www.crook1.com/sundance-secondary-sports.html