High School Sports

Why a local high school is suspending its football program for 2018

St. Joseph's Brendan Robinson looks down the field before throwing a pass during a game against Columbia Montour Vo-Tech Saturday, Oct. 14, 2017 at Memorial Field in State College. St. Joseph's has suspended its football program for the upcoming season due to a lack of participation.
St. Joseph's Brendan Robinson looks down the field before throwing a pass during a game against Columbia Montour Vo-Tech Saturday, Oct. 14, 2017 at Memorial Field in State College. St. Joseph's has suspended its football program for the upcoming season due to a lack of participation. Centre Daily Times, file

With fewer than 13 players committed to the upcoming season, St. Joseph's Catholic Academy has decided to suspend its football program.

The announcement was made recently in a statement sent out from the school administration to parents and students.

"We have not finished a season with more than 18 healthy players over the past five seasons," athletic director Chad Walsh said in the statement. "This year, we are looking at fewer than 13 who have committed to playing."

Since its inception in 2011, St. Joseph's has struggled to field a full football team due to a mix of lack of participation and injuries. Last season, an early injury to starting quarterback Brendan Robinson had the Wolves down to their third-string quarterback.

Although they showed flashes last season, the Wolves couldn't overcome their depth issues and finished the season 0-8.

However, in its statement, St. Joseph's remains optimistic that it will be able to again field a football program.

"While there may not be a 2018 football season, this does not mean that the program will cease to exist forever," the statement read. "The goal of St. Joseph's is to develop a reliable feeder program in an effort to establish consistent participation and re-establish a sustainable program."

The statement continued by reaffirming the school's commitment to athletics and that 75 percent of students participate in at least one sport.

"The growth and success of St. Joseph's' nine PIAA teams is astounding," board of directors President Rob Thomas said. "In seven short years, we have developed state championship teams while gaining the respect of competing athletic programs."

Since the school's start in 2011, St. Joseph's has produced three Mid State Athletic Conference championship teams, four district championship teams, and two state championship teams in girls' cross-country.

"The future of St. Joseph's athletics is bright. While football may not find its way into the 2018 athletics schedule, it is definitely not the end of the program," the statement read. "With a little bit of time, patience and meticulous planning, St. Joseph's hopes to field a team in the near future."

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