One of Montgomery County’s smallest school districts won’t be sporting a high school varsity football team this season as Springfield Township High School canceled its season due to too few students wanting to participate to keep the players on the field safe.
Jason Pane, the school’s assistant principal and athletic director, made the announcement “with a heavy heart” in a letter sent home to parents Monday night.
“At this time we simply do not have enough players to safely play this year,” wrote Pane.
The announcement came just days after the Spartans lost a scrimmage to Octorara High School 47-20. The team had begun offseason workouts with around 30 players but was down to around 18 to 22 healthy players due to recent injuries, reported PaPrepLive.com.
“This decision was delayed as long as possible in hopes that more students would join the roster,” wrote Pane.
The school located along Paper Mill Road in Erdenheim – a less than five-minute drive from Philadelphia’s Chestnut Hill – has for year sported one of the smaller student bodies. They were set to officially kick off their season against another smaller Montco public high school, 742-student Lower Moreland, this weekend.
Springfield -- with it's enrollment at 671 for the coming school year -- was also the smallest school playing in the Suburban One League's American Conference that features fellow Route 309 schools like Cheltenham and Upper Dublin.
“I sympathize with our players, coaches, and the community as Friday nights in Spartan Stadium have been a staple of my life for the past several years. I am especially apologetic to this year’s senior class and to our coaching staff,” wrote Pane. “They have invested multiple years in preparation for this season and their time and effort does not go unnoticed. I appreciate the alumni association and the booster club, as both organizations have volunteered their time to help prepare our Spartans for the 2016-2017 season. I would like to thank the parents of our players for the way they have supported their children and the team.
“This decision was very difficult to make, but it is what is best for our students that remains my primary focus. I take pride in fulfilling my obligation to the community and the school district in regards to protecting the health and well-being of our students. The actions of our students and community consistently remind me what Spartan Pride really means.”
The school still plans to play its schedule junior varsity schedule in hopes of developing players for a return to varsity football, said Pane. Seniors could also be given a chance to play in those games with the opponents' permission, reported PaPrepLive.com.