Small school football

I just got done talking to Tomales football coach Leon Feliciano.

He reminded me of how difficult it is to coach in the small school ranks. Dropping enrollment, soccer the same time of year and a changing student body can affect drastically a small school football team.

Already this week, Round Valley dropped its varsity program. Mendocino didn’t field a team and Anderson Valley is trying to return after a year away from the sport. Point Arena, which didn’t field a team two years ago, saw Round Valley disband just before its game last Saturday and this week won’t play because another opponent, Wilson Prep of Oakland is not fielding sports.

Feliciano, whosed teams are always competitive, has seen Tomales’ enrollment drop from 280 students when he arrived at the school over a decade ago to 170 today. Tomales always relied on the families from the nearby dairies for players. Many dairies have closed up. There are more Hispanic students and they tend to favor soccer over football. When the two sports play in the same season it puts another crunch on football.

Leon said the hardest thing is to maintain consistency at the small school level and praised St. Vincent’s Gary Galloway and Middletown’s Bill Foltmer for doing exactly that.

As far as the future of North Central League II football…..well, right now its a year-to-year proposition.