No varsity football for Wrenshall
After forfeiting their season a year ago, Wrenshall High School football is back. But this fall the Wrens will look a little different ?- they'll be a junior varsity team.
After forfeiting their season a year ago, Wrenshall High School football is back. But this fall the Wrens will look a little different ¬- they'll be a junior varsity team.
Due to the lack of numbers last season, mixed with injuries and ineligibility (due to transfer), Wrenshall head coach Jeremy Zywicki was forced to shut down the school's nine-man program after just one varsity game last fall.
He didn't want to do that again this year, so Zywicki decided that fielding only a junior varsity team was best for the boys in 2010.
"I don't want to see the program fold," said Zywicki, who has been around the game for roughly 10 years now. "I played high school football and I'll never forget it. I want these boys to have those same opportunities."
Last fall, Zywicki said only about 15 kids showed up for the first day of practice, nine of them freshmen. After a pair of injuries to their only two seniors, the Wrens were left with barely enough players to compete, and were forced to pull the plug after their season-opening 42-8 loss to Nevis.
"We were in a rough spot last year," said the third-year coach. "We had four or five freshmen out there and things just weren't feasible. The kids just weren't physically mature enough to play on a varsity field yet."
That's why Zywicki is optimistic about this fall's junior varsity program. Things will be more on the Wrens level.
"I think we'd have the numbers for a varsity season this year, but they'd be so young and just get banged up against bigger, faster and stronger kids," said Zywicki. "And that's just no fun. Now they'll be playing against kids their own age and I think it will be a huge help for them all."
Practice for the Wrens starts Monday morning, Aug. 16, at the high school.
"We won't have a ton of kids out, but I think we'll be shooting high if we see 20 show up," said Zywicki, who's in his third year coaching the Wrens and teaches physical education and health at Wrenshall. "We're hoping for a big freshmen class."
He feels strongly that this is the best way to build the program and its players.
"Playing JV is going to give these kids the experience they need to improve," Zywicki said. "This season is going to give them the opportunity to go out there and have fun playing football."
And to Zywicki, having fun and learning the game is what it's about.
"We're going to keep this program alive, at any length we can," he said. "We'll build off what happens this year and hopefully next year; these boys will be ready to bring back the varsity team."