Two schools are better than one. This may be the new motto of the Quaker Valley High School football team if the WPIAL and PIAA approve the establishment of a cooperative football program with the nearby Cornell School District.
The request to submit this proposal to the aforementioned organizations was approved by the school board Tuesday night. It would come into effect during the 2012 season.
The agreement would allow Cornell students to play with the Quaker Valley team. Without the agreement, the Cornell District would not be able to have a football team in the upcoming year. Though they would be a part of the team, all of their expenses would be billed directly to the Cornell District, such as transportation and injury care from Quaker Valley’s personal trainer. The district would be billed on a per-student basis to ensure that the sum is fair.
It is estimated that anywhere between eight to 10 kids may join the team next year. Even though adding Cornell will increase the number of players on the bench, it will not bump up Quaker Valley to AAA in their competitive classification.
“In PIAA you add the bigger school’s number to half of the boys’ enrollment in the smaller school,” said Athletic Director Mike Mastroianni. “We would only need to take half of their enrollment for the next two year cycle. Our numbers combined are 30 under AA limits.”
While it may take some getting used to, Mastroianni is confident that coaching conflicts will not be an issue.
“I’ve had discussions with our football coach, and what makes this natural is that he coached there for a while and he actually knows some of the kids and actually some of the coaches,” he said. “He does have an understanding.”
It has also not been decided whether or not Cornell will use their own cheerleaders and band, or only bring a part of these organizations to the games. Bringing only five or six members to a game would be a moot point, said Mastroianni, but he plans to see how it all plays out in further discussions.
With talks of adding additional students to the team, the board also discussed the possibility of inviting other schools, like Sewickley Academy, to their team. However, school officials predict this is unlikely to occur in the near future.
“Every time we have approached Sewickley Academy about football, it’s died,” said Superintendent Joseph Clapper.
“Co-op is a combination of us and another school district together,” Mastroianni said in clarification during the meeting. “Because the private school is in our existing school district it is a PIAA rule that if you choose to attend a private school and they don’t offer that, you don’t have the right to play that sport. That is two different things.”
Cornell finished the seaon 5-4, but lost 54-0 to Clairton Friday in the first-round playoff game against the defending state champions. Quaker Valley finished 3-5, though ironically the team won its season opener against Cornell.