St. Paul high school throws in the towel on football… for now

Can burning down a village save it?

Humboldt High School in St. Paul is going to test the theory. It’s dropping its varsity football program to try to save it, KARE 11 reports.

It will field only a JV team next year.

“We really needed to somehow reboot the whole system here,” says Humboldt High School Athletics Director David Mergens.

The team has won only one a single game over two seasons and has had to forfeit games because it didn’t have enough players, KARE says.

Mergens says he hopes the year off will stop the cycle of playing young athletes at the varsity level before they’re ready. “What happens is, we get that big group of 9th graders all interested and excited at the beginning of the year and by the end of the year, because you’re playing them up at that varsity level, they quit. They’re frustrated they’re getting beat up by bigger and stronger players, you’re not winning games,” he says.

New head football coach Arnulfo Flores agrees with the decision to take a year away from varsity football. “I’m looking out for our kids here at Humboldt High School, the safety of our kids. I don’t believe it’s right for me to put a 9th grader up against a senior. I know I wouldn’t want my kid doing that,” Flores says.

The football program is graduating seven seniors in a few months and has only 14 returning players.

The decision comes after the school asked parents and students to take a survey on interest in the football program.

It offered several options: 1) Plan to play a varsity schedule. 2) Drop varsity for one year and play a JV only schedule. 3) Pursue a coop with another football program.