WAYNESBORO, Pa. — After a four-year hiatus, the Waynesboro Stallions youth football organization will be making a return to the high school football field that hosted its games up until 2006.
The Waynesboro Area School Board unanimously approved a request Tuesday night to allow the Stallions to host Homecoming activities on Saturday, Oct. 22, at Indian Stadium, with games starting at 4 p.m.
Greg Wade, president of the organization, said it would give the kids a chance to play under the lights and hopefully keep them interested enough to stick with football into their high school years, which would benefit a struggling Waynesboro Area Senior High School Indians program that has dwindling numbers.
“We believe it is important to keep the younger kids excited about playing high school football and getting them on the field,” Wade said. “Playing under the lights will help build that excitement.”
Seventeen players will graduate from the program this year, but many of them are unsure if they want to continue with the sport into high school, Wade said.
“It’s important to keep the kids of our community involved in positive activities that help build self-esteem, character and teach them to get along and work well with others,” Wade said. “Kids that are not involved with these programs are at a higher risk for getting into trouble.”
Many players for the Stallions have never even played on a Waynesboro field, Wade said. The organization currently holds games in Quincy at the Ox Roast grounds.
The board approved the event after reviewing the fees that would be required of the organization to rent the fields, which include lighting costs and custodial fees. The cost would likely not exceed $500 and could actually be a lot less, board members said.
The school board recently voted to drop the ninth-grade football program at the high school, which has caused participation numbers to drop and discouraged kids from continuing with football into their high school years, Wade said.
Wade said he believes that if they reinstate the ninth-grade program and get rid of middle school football, as other schools have done, it would allow the younger kids who exceed weight limits on youth teams a chance to move up to the high school team. Meanwhile, smaller kids could keep participating with the Stallions, eliminating avoidable injuries and helping both programs in the process.
“If we don’t do something (with the ninth-grade program), there won’t be a high school team in two years,” Wade said. “That’s real … it’s a major issue.”
“This is creative fundraising,” said board member Sherry Cline, who called the preliminary approval a pilot for more games at the stadium. “This is the community working together with the school.”