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Flagship Down: Pinecrest Students Weigh In

BY LAUREN LESLIE: SPECIAL TO THE PILOT

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Background on this story.

As word circled the hallways of Pinecrest on Wednesday that the varsity football season might be coming to an early end, student reactions were quick to follow.

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"This will be my second year on varsity, and I gave my entire summer to Pinecrest football, and now they are going to take it away from me?" said junior James Douglass, a member of the team.

Athletic Director John Buchholz confirmed Wednesday that a meeting has been called for early next week to discuss playing only a junior varsity and freshmen schedule for the remainder of this season. The main concern, he said, is the low number of varsity-caliber players available.

Only 23 players are expected to play in Friday's game at Southern Lee.

Many students, however, think that the show must go on.

Stewart Grantham and Jenny Tucker, two seniors, said that canceling the season is not right to those who want to play. They said it will be unfair to the handful of seniors on the varsity squad, who cannot move down and play jayvee.

In Friday's 40-6 loss to St. Pauls, only six of the 27 players dressed to play were seniors.

Students Virginia Jones and Kensley Loenard agreed that it would be a let down to cancel the season after an entire summer of training.

Not only does it affect the football team, our entire summer of practicing cheers and stunts is now all a waste, agreed Taylor Craven and Ashley Thornton, captains of the Patriot varsity cheerleading squad.

Members of the band expressed disappointment as well. The gymnasium is too small to hold the band for basketball season, so football is especially important. Band members put in practices throughout the summer and take an elective class during the school day.

But not all of the Patriot population opposes an early end to the season.

Junior Jack Fields, a member of the golf team, said, "I think it should be canceled. They are never going to win, and, instead, the money that was earned should go to the golf team."

MollyRose Milewski agreed, saying that funding for football should go elsewhere "because obviously it is not progressing."

Despite all the differing viewpoints, the courtyard at Pinecrest High School seemed to agree on one thing: Varsity football is a tradition in this town.

"My entire life I have dreamed of playing varsity football as a senior at my high school. I played my first two years on junior varsity, and last year I played for varsity," said senior Jay Heimrich. "Not only does this crush me and the other players, but also it affects my entire college career."

Students also asserted that a move to cancel this year's varsity season could put an end to football for years to follow. Students said they will be hesitant to dedicate their time and money to a program that has the chance of being canceled.

Buchholz stressed that the decision was not yet final. Pinecrest administrators, Principal Joel County, coach Larry Adams and he will consider all sides of the situation when they meet Wednesday, he said.

"Our main concern is the students," Buchholz said.

Lauren Leslie is a senior at Pinecrest High School. She is assisting with a teen-focused section in development at The Pilot.