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The end of Posen football?

June 20, 2012 - Steve Murch
Pride is a tricky thing. Most of the time, it can be an ally and strength to draw upon. Sometimes, however, it gets in the way of wise decisions.

My dad was superintendent in Posen for a number of years, and I know a lot of people who live there and like them immensely (for the record, I never attended the school; I had graduated several years prior to my dad taking the position). However, I think pride is getting in the way of some people at Posen High School.

A football team can be a central character in a town and its identity in the fall. Friday nights under the lights at a football field when all people in town turn out for a game can be a great place to be. But Posen has some issues that just aren't going away – their class sizes are small, small enough that the school quit playing 11-man football a couple of years ago and began playing 8-man football.

Eight-man football is gaining in popularity, and Posen was able to play a full schedule of games last year. It also has a full schedule this year. That's where I think there's trouble. The Vikings play three home games and six road games. Now six road games isn't an issue in and of itself, but five of those games are trips to the Upper Peninsula.

All told, the football will log almost 1,500 miles round trip to play its 6 road games this year. The shortest trip is to Bellaire, which a hair over 100 miles one way.

While travel will be a huge expense, it needs to be stated that the Posen sports boosters are incredibly good at helping support Viking teams. But 1,500 miles of travel is one big chunk of change all by itself. There are other expenses just for football, not to mention all the other sports. And you are asking families to bear some expense too, which they might not be able to do. It's tough to go to all of Johnny's games when you have to log 1,500 miles on the family vehicle to do it.

People in Posen take great pride in their community and school, and love the successes the sports teams have. But at what point does it become too much of a burden to support a football team? The school doesn't have large enrollment numbers. Now I don't know the class sizes coming up, but there were 17 kids – boys and girls combined – who graduated this year. I can't believe the numbers are much higher for the classes to follow because the trend in Posen has been downward for several years.

No one wants to think it, or admit it, but maybe the time has come for the school to give up the ghost for football and let those kids co-op with Rogers City -- attend classes in Posen but play football in Rogers City. There are those who believe the Posen kids wouldn't get a fair shake, but any coach would be crazy not to put the best 11 players on the field. I think it's as much not wanting to have kids play for the in-county rival as much as anything. Understandable, but again, there's a time to let go of the pride.

It's time for Posen to pull the Band Aid, drop football and get those kids playing football with Rogers City.


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