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Border Country Sports Blog-November 9th

Good Morning! With the Border Country Sports Blog, I’m Keith Harrington.

Granville Football Merger with Corinth and Hadley-Luzerne Discussed

Growing up attending school in Hartford where there was no football program, my brother Ken and I adopted the Granville Golden Horde. We loved the sport but didn’t have a team to root for. So, it was not unusual to find the two of us and maybe a couple of friends standing on the sidelines at most Granville home games.

Not only have I been a fan of Golden Horde football since I was a kid, I have covered the team through my work with Lake Region Radio, NYVT Media and the former Manchester Newspapers, my former website Adirondack SportsNet, and now Border Country Sports. I think it is pretty obvious the affection I have for Granville football, and Golden Horde sports in general. That’s why it concerns me that the Golden Horde football program could be in jeopardy due to a lack of participation.

Last night after hearing a presentation from Athletic Director Justin Nassivera, the Granville Board of Education announced that the proposed merger with Corinth and Hadley-Luzerne was not in the best interest of Granville students. Several Granville football players spoke to the board to share their opinions. The board went into executive session and then emerged with their decision.

The board however did make it clear that looking at other potential mergers was still on the table.

According to a report by my NYVT Media colleague Austin Crosier, board President Audrey Hicks has given the board the task to, “investigate other football merger options.”

My question is where is Granville going to find other options? Many local teams are already merged and schools such as Hartford and Fort Ann don’t seem to have any interest in losing students from their fall sports programs that are also lower on numbers than they used to be. Does Granville try to reengage discussions with Whitehall? Is Vermont an option such as nearby Poultney for example? I am not sure where they expect to turn.

I was a very strong advocate of a Granville merger with Whitehall and wrote about it multiple times. If the two schools were playing together this season as they had originally planned before the Railroaders decided to go it alone, I think it would have been very successful. I can’t blame Whitehall though for wanting to stay solo. They are one of the most storied programs in local history and I admire them wanting to maintain that status. That said, I feel Granville should reach out to Whitehall again to see if the door is still open after this fall season. And if it is, what can be done to make it happen.

If Whitehall still wants to continue with their own program, then Granville needs to find a way to get more students out for football. Otherwise, I don’t know what other options they have.

I am friends with Nassivera and football coach John Irion. I respect them both tremendously. Several Granville parents who I also respect a great deal have reached out for my opinion. Thank you to them for respecting what I do enough to solicit my thoughts. It is nice to know my work is valued.

I haven’t taken a side in this debate. I can see the benefits and the concerns from both sides. And both sides do have legitimate points. Although I am a partner in a horse racing stable, this is one race I don’t have a horse in. It seems that the Granville Board seems to be taking the approach that they have to do what is best for Granville student-athletes. It is clear they listened to them, and that is to be commended. As an educator myself, I strong believe in giving students ownership, and a voice.

All that being said, I hope a solution that allows the program to thrive can be worked out soon. Some kind of compromise that makes as many people happy as possible. We all know it is impossible to make everyone happy these days. Everyone involved, me included, have one key thing in common. We all are passionate about Granville Golden Horde football and want to see the program rise back to prominence. No one on either side of the issue wants to see the program no longer exist.

I don’t know what I would do with myself on Friday nights and Saturday afternoons without Granville football. Here’s hoping I never have to find out.

Photo Credit: Stacie Arnhold

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