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Low numbers holding the Housatonic/Wamogo football program back

POSTED October 31, 2013
BY Patrick Tiscia
Twitter: @PatrickTiscia

For the second straight week, high school football will go on in Connecticut without the Housatonic/Wamogo program.

Unfortunately, it’s not because of scheduled bye weeks for the Mountaineers.

Due to low roster numbers, combined with injuries and illness, Housatonic/Wamogo submitted another forfeit to the CIAC this week against Coginchaug. Last week, the program took a forfeit versus Lewis Mills.

No announcement has been made regarding next week’s game against Windsor Locks/Suffield/East Granby.

Roster size has long been an issue for Housatonic/Wamogo and it hit a new low last week as the team, according to head coach Deron Bayer, only had 14 players participate in practice. The long term continuation of the program is clearly in jeopardy.

Not only does a roster low in numbers, say in the twenties, have little chance of success, it also puts the players’ health on the line. Having to play every down of a football game, on offense, defense and special teams, is a physical challenge most high school kids can’t endure.

Several years back, Housatonic joined forces with Wamogo on a co-op and the marriage had instant success. The Mountaineers won more games on the field and Bayer’s go-to offense, the single-wing, even made National news as it was featured in Sports Illustrated.

In 2010, they went 5-5 and started 2011 off with a bang, winning their first four.

Since then, it’s been a struggle. The Mountaineers lost their last six of that season, all 10 in 2012, and all seven this year, including the two forfeits. In their five games on the field this season, they did not score more than eight points in any contest.

This all comes down to the size of the roster. The co-op has not produced enough players and, at this point, it would not be a surprise to see the team taken off the field for the rest of the season.

Long term outlook? That is the biggest question. Maybe the answer is to add another school or even two into the co-op like Windsor Locks has done with Suffield and East Granby.

Whatever the case, something has to be done and fast. If not, the program may be in its last days.

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