GPC football coaches split on idea of eliminating Marty from scheduleBrian Allmendinger and Tom Culver don’t have the same opinion about playing Marty in high school football. Allmendinger, Gregory’s football coach, said if he had the choice he would eliminate Marty — an American Indian tribal school — from his team’s schedule.
By: Luke Hagen, The Daily Republic
Brian Allmendinger and Tom Culver don’t have the same opinion about playing Marty in high school football.
Allmendinger, Gregory’s football coach, said if he had the choice he would eliminate Marty — an American Indian tribal school — from his team’s schedule. Avon’s Culver said it’s a good experience to play Marty each season and the team has always showed up to play.
Both Allmendinger and Culver are coaches in the seven-team Great Plains Conference, which includes Marty, Tripp-Delmont/Armour, South Central, Scotland and Andes Central. Last week, Marty forfeited its game against Plankinton because the team couldn’t field enough players for a team.
When discussing scheduling with five of the six conference coaches about Marty, two said they would eliminate Marty from their schedule, two would keep the school on the schedule and one coach was indifferent on the subject.
“They forfeited last week, and I don’t know if they’re going to forfeit this week,” Allmendinger said. “ … The game you get from them, really it’s a lower-level (junior varsity) game, and it’s not their fault, but it’s the brutal truth.”
Every two years, the South Dakota High School Activities Association re-aligns the districts based on enrollment and geography and makes the football schedules. Coaches don’t have much say about the teams they play unless they play in a conference, meaning Marty and the other six GPC teams are guaranteed a game against each other every year as long as they all stay in the conference.
There’s no official talk about removing Marty from the GPC, but after forfeiting last week, Allmendinger and Scotland coach Seth Mernaugh said they would remove Marty from their schedules if they had the final decision. Culver and South Central coach Mike Sebern want to keep Marty on their schedules, while Andes Central coach Rich Stephens didn’t have a view, but added all he wants is “to have a consistent opponent week in and week out.” TDA coach Michael Barron is in his first year coaching South Dakota high school football and couldn’t be reached for this report.
“Honestly, it’s not much of a football game when we play them,” Culver said. … “But they always wish us well after the game, and the kids and adults over there are friendly. Would it be nice if we maybe played someone a little better? Yeah. But if everyone around here didn’t play them, they’d be traveling all over the place.
“I would hate to see everyone drop them.”
Mernaugh’s team finished with four wins last season, one coming in 64-0 fashion against Marty ending at halftime. It was the final game of the regular season, sealing a playoff spot for Scotland.
Marty started the game with 11 players and finished the final 5 minutes with eight players on the field because of injuries.
Mernaugh said one of the positives to playing Marty is being able to play a large chuck of his JV team after the varsity builds a nice lead.
“No, I wouldn’t play them if I had the decision,” Mernaugh said. “The big thing is because of who they are, the type of school they are … they’re fighting an uphill battle with kids who aren’t familiar with football, and football isn’t a part of their culture.”
Next week, Marty hosts South Central at 2 p.m. in Marty.
Sebern was hesitant when deciding if he’d like to remove Marty from his roster if he had the decision. He’s been in contact with Marty Athletic Director George Langdeaux since the school’s forfeiture last week, making sure they’ll have a game next Friday. If Marty fails to field a team next week, South Central will have two straight weeks without a game since its bye week is Sept. 21.
“If I got burnt one time, I think that would be it,” he said. “I think I wouldn’t want to play them anymore. I want to be able to play them, but I want to know they have a team. I don’t want to wonder if we’re going to have a game.”
Marty football coach Jay Maynard said he still feels badly about forfeiting last week. He only had nine players available for a 9-man football game. He said there are 13 players who will take the field for tonight’s game against Lower Brule and his team will be “ready to play.” Maynard added there are about 20 players on the team, but only the ones who are physically prepared will take the field.
Marty started its school year the day after Labor Day this year, making it nearly impossible to have a team ready, Maynard said. He’s discussed the problem with school administration already, making sure that the kids who attend the school, play football and reside in the dorms are available to arrive at the school earlier next year.
Maynard didn’t have much of a reaction to finding out there were two coaches who would like to drop his team from their schedule. Instead, he was optimistic about the future.
“My assistant coach and I, we really are working on teaching the basics more and getting everything going,” the second-year head coach said. “If anything, I’d just ask them to give us a little bit of a chance.”