Over my 28 years with this newspaper, I rarely have stirred up people with my stories.
This may change with this column.
I see a couple of disturbing trends in small high schools across the state. First, players are looking to specialize in one sport.
The problem with that is it ends up hurting other sports in the school. It affects the numbers in other sports. For these sports to be competitive, they need all athletes playing as many sports as possible. It’s the only way that small schools survive athletically.
One school that seems to be getting in that look is Kirk Academy. For the past several seasons, the football numbers have shown a steady decline.
There are some reasons that the numbers aren’t where they should be. First, kids don’t seem to be as committed to playing football because they have other things to do. Second, they want to play just basketball or just baseball. So, football suffers with numbers. Third, enrollment has some to do with these problems. There will be times that numbers aren’t there in a particular sport.
Since I have been covering athletics for this company, Kirk has played in four state championship games, winning just one. Since 2009, the Raiders have a 15-39 mark. Back in 2008, KA played for the Class AA title losing 28-10 to Centreville Academy.
This season, the Raiders have just three seniors. Their numbers are at 28-30 which includes grades 9-12. Kirk has lost up to 11 players for various reasons. This is happening with a high school enrollment of 140. They have either decided to specialize in a sport or just quit.
The problems haven’t been limited to the high school level. In the junior high program, Kirk has 20 players and have lost 5-7 players for various reasons.
It’s time for one or two things to take place. They either need to have better commitment by the players and parents to the sport. If not, the next five years may bring 15 wins. The board may need to look at going to Eight-Man Football. That would be a shame for a Class AA school. Time will tell if anyone will step up to the plate.