Burlington and South Burlington high schools to merge football teams

BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) Burlington and South Burlington high schools are joining forces on the gridiron.

The Vermont Principals' Association Activities Standards Committee Friday approved a two-year proposal to merge the schools' football programs as a co-op squad. The change takes effect this fall.

The reasoning behind the move comes down to numbers. Fewer boys at both schools are playing football. Last fall, South Burlington had 45 players including 12 seniors, while Burlington had 25 on the roster for it's playoff game with Mount Mansfield, 17 of which were seniors.

Sports like soccer, cross country, and more recent fall additions like volleyball and golf have siphoned off potential players, putting the future of both football programs in jeopardy. With that in mind, the school's felt the time was right to take this dramatic step.

"I know reflection is always on the size of school, but it really is about the size of participating numbers in your programs," said Burlington athletic director Jeanne Hulsen. "It's not the size of school, it's the size of where we are in our program that we're trying to create sustainable opportunities."

"We're hoping to have enough kids out so we can have an effective practice, where we can have a solid JV team, where we don't have to keep on practicing on air, we can practice eleven on eleven," added South Burlington athletic director Michael Jabour.

The Seahorses and Wolves will form a single program with varsity and junior varsity teams and will compete in Division One. Other details, like the team's nickname, will be decided in the coming months.