HEALDSBURG (KPIX 5) – After a pair of lopsided losses to start off the year, the Healdsburg High School football team has decided to turn in its uniforms and cancel the rest of the season.
The stands at Recreation Park will be a little lonelier this fall after the football players on the struggling Healdsburg High School Greyhounds quit for the remainder of the year.
"It's gonna be missed in town," said Healdsburg High Principal Bill Halliday.
The decision stemmed partly from the lack of participating students.
The team started the season with 18 players. After losing its first game 41-0 and then being shut out 61-0 in its second game, two players quit.
Then two more dropped off the team, followed by the team's quarterback on Monday.
That was when Head Coach and Healdsburg HS Athletic Director Dave Stine had the kids make a decision.
"We decided to do a blind vote and seven of the thirteen said no, they didn't want to move forward," said Stine. "So we went ahead and disbanded the varsity team at that point."
School officials said the coaches, community and student body are disappointed about the abrupt end to the football season. But when contacting future opponents to cancel upcoming games, Principal Halliday discovered their struggle isn't unique.
"We're not alone. The number of kids across the board in California, and certainly in Northern California, of students signing up is down," said Halliday.
The principal said the team has gotten some blowback on social media for quitting the season, though some seem to understand.
With a new school sprit initiative and investment in the young athletes, Healdsburg High plans on having a varsity team back next year.
"I'm excited about JV team now. There's 30 kids on that team and they really want to play and are working hard. So the future looks bright," said Stine.
The field at Recreation Park won't be totally empty this fall. The junior varsity games will be played and the school is looking at pushing the start time of games back so the community and the student body can come together and experience the usual Friday night lights feel.
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