Two football teams in Western New York have been granted an emergency merger for the 2017 season because neither team has enough players, according to the Buffalo News.
The season opener is Sept. 1.
The merger of Frewsburg and Randolph was prompted by concern that Freswburg’s roster only had 18 players, including several freshmen and first-year players, Section VI Football Chairman Ken Stoldt told the Buffalo News. The state requires teams have at least 16 players for games. The school does not have a junior varsity team to supplement the varsity roster.
“They were not confident they would make it through,” Stoldt said.
Randolph had 22 players on the roster, which is fewer than most of the teams that they were scheduled to play. The joint team will use Randolph’s schedule of games.
Frewsburg freshmen and sophomores who would have been junior varsity players will be able to compete on the Randolph JV team.
A shortage of players has caused a number of programs around the country to cancel their season or only play junior varsity. The National Federation of State High School Athletic Associations announced in its annual participation survey that the number of high school athletes overall reached an all-time high and saw the biggest year-over-year increase since 2008-09. However, football saw a decline of about 25,500 players.