A football game requires each team to place 11 players at a time on the field of play. That means a team must consist of at least 11 players, and any injury, temporary or otherwise, requires at least one substitute to enter. Favor in that number of 12, assuming no player ever willingly leaves the field, and Rockford, Ill. school Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Academy (OLSHA) will require a 66 percent participation rate just to field a legal team.
Incredibly, that isn’t going to keep them from trying to get it done.
As reported by the Rockford Register Star, OLSHA has never fielded a full high school sports team before (though it has had a handful of individual cross country runners), yet decided to field a football team in 2017 “as a pride thing,” combined with an additional impetus behind the school’s ongoing recruiting efforts.
Incredibly, OLSHA principal Lou Bageanis told the Register Star that the team has already landed 13-14 commitments from existing students, with a hope that one or two others may join before the season starts. That could include homeschool students.
“We just need 11,” Bageanis told the Register Star. “I wouldn’t want to do that, but we are committed to doing this for the kids, and we can’t let the conference down. We’ve got a full schedule we’ve got to keep, so if we only have 11, we’re playing with 11.
“This is a great story. If we make it to the playoffs, it would really be something. Even if we don’t, it will be a great time and the kids will learn a lot.”
They’ll certainly be on the field a lot. And, with a little success, they might even end up in Hollywood.
“It will be cool to do this as the smallest school in the state,” quarterback Paul Bageanis said. “Maybe they’ll make a movie about us.”