Willapa Valley and Pe Ell high schools are giving serious consideration to joining up for three sports including football, baseball and softball. If both school boards approve it, it would take effect during the 2014-15 school year. The two schools are 22.2 miles away from each other.
Valley and Pe Ell are facing dwindling numbers with enrollment and in most likelihood would not be able to play football in the Class 2B ranks, and the alternative to play 8-man football in Class 1B isn't really appealing to supporters at both schools.
Baseball and softball would be two new exciting sports for student-athletes at the Menlo-based school.
“What we've done is explore the idea of putting a committee together to see if it's viable,” Willapa Valley HS Superintendent Rob Friese told the Herald.
On the committee are Friese, John Peterson (Valley AD), Kyle MacDonald (Pe Ell Superintendent), Bob Keith (Pe Ell AD), Tom Walker and Josh Christian.
“There has been a lot of talk in the community and we had a very positive meeting, so we're looking more seriously at it happening,” Friese said. “The forum went very positively. Information was given out and a lot of people offered input and asked a lot of great questions, People were very supportive of the idea.
“Right now, the talk is just for football, baseball and softball,” Friese said. “I've been tossing the idea around for two years. I think something has to be done. We could choose to go 1B, but that's not a viable option. Everything is on the table.”
Friese said Willapa Valley has a difficult time fielding enough players on the junior high ranks.
“We struggle with the numbers, and we could barely put a junior high team together the past school year,” Friese said. “Potentially, we're playing schools that are three times our size.”
Playing against smaller schools like Lake Quinault, Oakville, and Quillicine would not only be less exciting than playing the likes of Raymond, South Bend, Naselle or North Beach, but the travel expenses would increase significantly, and the gate receipts would take a nosedive.
Of course, there would be plenty of things to be ironed out between the two schools if the decision is lot of ramifications involved with combining sports with Pe Ell, including:
Who would be the head coach?
Who would comprise of the entire coaching staff?
Where would practices be held
What would the colors of the uniforms be?
Which stadium would home games be played at?
What would the team name be, and what kind of mascot?
Which buses would be used for travel and which school school's drivers would be hired?
Who would coach the cheerleaders?
The Willapa Valley School Board meeting is May 19 at 7 pm. As always, the public is invited to attend and participate.