Good Morning! With the Border Country Sports Blog, I'm Keith Harrington.
Granville-Whitehall Football Merger Needs to Happen
I have been sharing my opinion quite openly for the last two or three years. I have been an outspoken advocate for a football merger between longtime rivals Granville and Whitehall. Just when it looked like the topic had been put to rest, the door seems to have been reopen. My advice to the adults involved? Put kids first and get this done. The Granville-Whitehall football merger needs to happen.
The athletic commitees of the two schools will meet this Wednesday, Dec. 1 to put the possibility of a football merger back on the table. If the merger were to happen the Golden Horde and Railroaders would become one team with one head coach according to reports.
On Nov. 8 the Granville Board of Education denied the plan for the Golden Horde to merge with Hadley-Luzerne and Corinth, but stated that they would seek other merger opportunities. At the time Whitehall had made it clear that they were not interested in seeking a merger with Granville, but now it seems that may have changed.
The two schools had been moving toward a merger last March, and the agreement had already been approved. However, in May Whitehall announced that their Board had decided to pull out of the merger and go it alone and field only a junior varsity team in 2021.
“As a result of these ongoing discussions,” Dee said, “our coaching staff and AD feel that we have sufficient player interest to run a quality JV program that will enable our coaching staff to develop these players safely and with the ability to grow into an independent Whitehall Varsity program for the 2022 season," Whitehall Superintendent Patrick Dee said at the time.
Whitehall players seemed to be in favor of the merger, even starting a peition on the Change website. The petition stated,
"As students of Whitehall Central School, we firmly disagree with the Board of Education for turning down the opportunity to merge with Granville High School's football team. We believe that if we don't merge with Granville, the students in Whitehall won't have the same opportunities that football has to offer. We also spent a lot of our school fundings on a new football field that will now not get its full use, due to the lack of a Whitehall Varsity Football team."
Granville finished 2-5 this season. The Golden Horde began the season with around 25 players, but finished with less than 20 between injuries and players choosing to leave the squad. Projections only put the Golden Horde with about 15-20 players for next season. They had to forfiet one game this fall due to a lack of eligible players.
Whitehall had around 20 players on the junior varsity team that met with some success. Still, numbers for the Railroader's program remain tight.
To me, and I have been preaching this for years, this seems like a no-brainer. Several teams out there are currently merged teams. Many of those competing in Granville and Whitehall's division. Cambridge-Salem, Corinth-Hadley-Luzerne, Warrensburg-North Warren, Helderberg Valley, Hoosick Falls-Tamarac, Canajoharie-Fort Plain. The list goes on and on. If you don't do what you have to do to keep up with the Joneses, how do you expect to compete with them?
In the end this decision should really in my opinion come down to what's best for kids. Not what adults want. It seems the players on both sides are on board with this merger for the most part. If the players want it, isn't that what should be important?
It's time for the adults involved to listen to the student-athletes, put their needs first, and get the Granville-Whitehall merger done.
With the Border Country Sports Blog, I'm Keith Harrington.