In anticipation of low turnout and safety concerns voiced by returning players and parents, Liberty Bell is announcing a temporary move to 8-man varsity football for the 2015-16 football season.
In 2014, concerns mounted as injuries and low numbers forced Liberty Bell to forfeit several games. The decision to move to 8-man varsity football is expected to boost participation, minimize unsafe situations, and promote fun for the participating Mountain Lions. Junior High Football for the 2015-16 season will remain in the 11-man format.
“Player, coach, and parent input as well as a focus on the Methow Valley School District Vision, were the driving forces in reaching the decision to play 8-man football for the 2015 season”, stated Chase Rost, Methow Valley Schools Activities Director.
Rost added, “In a meeting with several players from the 2014 team, it was apparent that they were heavily in favor of an 8-man season. Their view was that 8-man would be the most fun, it would attract the most players, and it would be the best step to rebuild the program. The players present expressed concern for their own safety and a general loss of fun while competing against 11-man teams. Being that the players are the only ones who have been on the field to experience the situation first hand, their opinions should carry a lot of weight.”
The Mountain Lions hope that this change will cultivate a positive learning environment that emphasizes safety, effort, focus and fun, and in doing so, the program hopes to grow back into a stable 11-man football team in the near future.
Liberty Bell’s 2015-16 8-man varsity schedule will feature games with many 1B classified schools from the area. The Mountain Lions are slated to play Pateros, Waterville, Wellpinit, Colville, North Point, Inchileum, and Yakama Nation. The schedule is expected to feature at least three home games as well as the traditional homecoming and senior night games.
Along with the shift to 8-man varsity football, the 2015 season will also usher in former junior high coach, Steve White, as head coach of LBHS’s Mountain Lions. The school is excited about Steve’s emphasis on fun and safety, and confident that his experiences as a player and coach will help to regrow the football program.