CLAYTON, Mo. (KMOV.com) - Nationwide, participation in high school football is on the decline, in part due to safety concerns, and it’s a trend happening locally as well.
Back in 2015, the Maplewood Richmond Heights School District put an end to their football program because there wasn’t enough interest. But now there’s a chance that students could play again, as nearby Clayton High School looks to find players to ensure they have enough for next season.
“Our numbers are getting to the point which are really questionable to sustain our program,” explained Bob Bone, the Athletic Director at Clayton.
The Clayton School Board approved a plan Wednesday night that would form a football cooperative between the two high schools.
The games would be played on Clayton’s field with their uniforms as their schedule is set for the next three years.
Schools in more rural parts of Missouri have taken similar measures but it would be the first one in the St. Louis area. That’s because the Missouri State High School Athletic Association is changing the bylaws which would allow two schools of this size to join together.
“We want to keep our program going, I think it’s very important to our school and I think it’s important for our culture,” said Bone.
The school districts would share the funding for the program. They hope to have a decision made soon, as summer football camps will be starting soon.
A spokesperson for Maplewood Richmond Heights (MRH) wouldn’t comment on how their school district will vote, but the issue will go before the Board of Education on May 16.
“Since the football program went on hiatus, our homecoming activities have been centered around the soccer teams with no apparent lack of enthusiasm and spirit,” said Ed Rich, a spokesperson for MRH.
The incoming senior quarterback for Clayton High School hopes the two schools can come together to play football.
“It would be great, we need all the players we can get,” said Ty Sucher, quarterback for the Clayton Greyhounds.