HYDE PARK – It was a tough decision, but one that was necessary for several reasons. With only 22 varsity football players and the start of the season just one week away, FDR Head Coach along with Athletic Director Tom Cunningham were forced to bring up players from the JV, which would cause a suspension of the JV football program this season due to a lack of numbers. Head Coach Brian Bellino shared the plan with HVNN Sports Friday morning.
“We’re losing about 10 players each year, compared to the previous year”, said head coach Brian Bellino. “We’ve been through this before, about three years ago when we were plagued with injuries. At that time we were forced to bring three freshman up to Varsity.”
Those three freshman are now in their fourth season as varsity starters and key contributors on the team. “I remember when I first came up as a freshman, it was intimidating”, said Wide Receiver Devante Pavelock, “but it was also exciting”, he added.
“We hate to do it, but it’s really first and foremost about safety.”, added Bellino. “By taking the players we need from JV, we deplete their roster and I’m not going to bring up players from the freshman squad to Junior Varsity to face the likes of Cornwall, Minisink, Warwick and Newburgh and not expect them to get hurt.”
The players were told after a multi-team scrimmage that FDR hosted Saturday morning.
“JV players will come up to varsity and the remainder of JV and freshman players will workout through the season. It’s not a great situation all around, but it’s a numbers issue and a safety first consideration.”
“Numbers” has been a concern for many teams over the years. Players coming out for football have dropped at Lourdes, Ketcham, FDR, and many more. Rondout Valley came to a Saturday multi team scrimmage at FDR high school with just 17 players suited up.
FDR opens its Varsity season with a non-league game against Burke Catholic Friday night at home.