Price County band impacted by canceled football season
In many Wisconsin communities, come fall, Friday nights are all about football. But that tradition is in jeopardy for one Northwoods school.
The Phillips school board decided Monday to play a JV schedule, not a varsity one, because the team will be so young.
"We're not cutting a program. It's basically changing the schedule from a varsity schedule to a junior varsity schedule," said Principal Colin Hoogland.
The school expects only two seniors to play next season. They hope this plan will keep the younger players safe.
"We're looking at taking a step back to take a couple steps forward so we can maintain those younger players and put them out there in an environment where they can compete against athletes their own size and skill level," said Hoogland.
The change will also affect the students who perform at halftime. Shifting from Friday varsity games to Monday JV games will pose an extra challenge for the band.
"The games that we'll be performing at will be during the week where we have other athletic events so we will be fighting with making sure we've got everybody and the most kids that we can for the performances," said Justin Lindgren, Phillips School District director of bands.
The band is still hoping to find time to play.
"We're going to try and perform as often as possible," said Lindgren. "We usually try to do about four football games a season so we're still working to do four football games this season."
School leaders are trying to schedule some Friday night games including a homecoming game.
School leaders are confident the schedule won't change the support this community always shows.
"The community supported all our sports in the past, and I certainly anticipate that will continue," said Hoogland.
Players are showing the same support for each other, hoping this time-out is the best call for the program.
"I'm a little bit okay with it, more like I'm willing to take one for the team in order for Phillips football to improve," said Luke Heidenreich, who will be a senior next season.
School leaders stress this isn't about the budget. They're still keeping the same number of coaches.
They also say they're planning to return to a varsity schedule for the 2015 season.