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Brocton’s Delcamp: Consider football merger with Fredonia

January 21, 2016
By Rebecca Cuthbert ( , Westfield Republican

BROCTON - At a recent school board meeting, Brocton Central School District Superintendent Jason Delcamp asked other board members to consider a football merger with Fredonia Central School. Currently, Brocton students are already teamed up with Westfield students, playing as the Westfield-Brocton Wolverines (the two schools merged volleyball teams and play as the Brocton-Westfield Lady Bulldogs).

"We met for a second time with Fredonia, and Westfield, and their athletic directors at the second meeting to talk about combining football for the 2016-2017 school year. All boards were meeting this (past) Monday and Tuesday, and we're the last board on Wednesday to talk about it as a board of education, because we have to make a commitment with Section 6, (saying) this is the route we're going so they can start to develop a schedule for next year."

Delcamp is in favor of the merger, which would see Fredonia take the lead, and asked that board members consider the benefits of adding one more school to their already-blended sports family.

"My recommendation to the board would be that we truly consider a combining of the football programs so that we can ensure that we have a football program within the next three to four years. As I shared in the last board meeting, the projections of numbers have slowly (shown decline for football)," he urged.

Football has to compete with other fall sports at many schools, and this, too, has led to a decline in the number of students interested in hitting the gridiron. And with too few players, they don't get enough rest and recuperation time.

"Soccer is becoming more popular, and when soccer becomes popular, with cross country, the (fall) numbers come down (for football participation)," Delcamp said.

"We have situations where athletes are playing both sides of the field, offense and defense, and that raises safety concerns. Not only that, but do you have a team? Can you field a team? That issue came up with Fredonia last year. I believe that they had to cancel one of their last games because of injuries and students that couldn't participate."

Delcamp went on to say that he wanted students at all three schools to be able to participate in the sports of their choosing, and that merging with Fredonia would give them that opportunity - whether Bulldog, Wolverine, or Hillbilly at heart.

Since Brocton is about midway between Westfield and Fredonia, its fields would serve as the practice space for the proposed new team. All three schools would conduct interviews together for one head coach, then they would each supply (and pay for) their own assistant coaches. That may sound like a lot of cooks in the kitchen, but as Delcamp explained, each participating district needs to have responsibility for the team.

Details are still being hashed out, like whose equipment will be used for what and where home games will be played. Jerseys were discussed, with one idea being to use Fredonia's black jerseys. No one foresees problems with transportation, since Westfield and Brocton administrators already have plenty of experience working out bus routes and schedules.

The difficulties with merging the three schools' football programs are relatively small and surmountable: hometown pride, who will pick up what tab, where to schedule what. But the benefits to the plan are many and significant: Players at all three schools would have a team to play for, students wouldn't become overly fatigued or injured from too much time on the field, players would forge new friendships with peers they might not yet know, the program would be affordable for everyone, games wouldn't have to be forfeited due to low grades or injuries, and, well, everyone looks good in black. Even Bulldogs.

"We've got to get commitments from all three districts saying 'Hey, let's move forward with this. (...) We haven't heard anything negative from either of their boards, so we're looking for the end of the month to move forward," Delcamp said.



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