Eight N.Y. schools plan to merge into two football teams

After nearly 100 years, football in the City of Yonkers, N.Y., is on the verge of a drastic change.

The city’s eight high schools took a big step toward merging into two football programs when the majority of Section 1 schools voted this week to approve the move.

The Yonkers merger will next be considered by Section 1’s athletic council and executive committee, which are scheduled to meet Nov. 21 and 27, respectively.

Their approval would make the merger official.

“It is with Section 1 now,” district spokeswoman Jerilynne Fierstein said.

The proposal Yonkers sent last month to Section 1 cited insufficient participation as the reason for merging. Budget cuts forced the city to drop its junior varsity programs in 2011 and the varsity programs have struggled to compete against other Section 1 schools. It led to the creation of the Yonkers-based Hudson River Football League in 2014.

Six of the city’s high schools played in that league this season with only Lincoln and Yonkers Montessori competing in Section 1. One of the league members from outside of Yonkers, Port Washington, a Nassau County school, went unbeaten and won the Yonkers Bowl, the league’s championship game.

Despite having their own league, several of the programs suffered due to low numbers and endured multiple forfeits. Yonkers High School played just one game before canceling the remainder of its season due to low numbers and Palisade Prep had two forfeits.

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