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WILDWOOD, Fla. – If you were planning on attending a Wildwood varsity football game this fall, you will have to consider other options.
In a letter released by the Wildwood Football Staff posted on Facebook, the school announced that it will not field a varsity football team for the 2015-16 season and will instead focus on building the junior varsity program and continuing to develop the middle school program,
In the letter, the coaches cited several factors, including the fact that the program has only four upperclassmen on the roster (three seniors and one junior with two of those four having not played football). The school says it has a talented pool of freshmen and sophomores but the players are inexperienced.
All of this comes on the heels for Wildwood of having five different head coaches in as just as many seasons as well having faced declining enrollment numbers that have left the team facing a situation not seen in the many years of Wildwood football, which at one time was a state power. Wildwood’s enrollment has gone from 539 in 2002 to 384 in 2014, according to Florida High School Athletic Association figures.
Wildwood, which was assigned back in January to a larger District 1A-8, will now leave the other five district opponents including Pahokee, Pierson Taylor, Fort Meade, Frostproof and Crescent City having to find a replacement game. Also five non-district opponents also have to find a new game late or at least consider playing a 9-game varsity schedule.
The plan is to sprinkle in some limited varsity competition in the 2016-2017 season with the hopes of Wildwood fully returning to varsity play for the 2017-2018 school year. There was no mention if the would return to district play at that time.
Wildwood has appeared in four state championship games in school history with two victories and had long been consistent as one of the top programs in the state for many years. Its most recent state title game appearances were in 1984 and ’86.
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