Marion, Menno high schools enter four-year agreement for football co-opThe Cornbelt Conference will have a new addition in football next season.
By: Aaron Saunders, The Daily Republic
The Cornbelt Conference will have a new addition in football next season.
Menno and Marion high schools will combine to create a new co-op and enter into a four-year agreement.
On Jan. 9, the South Dakota High School Activities Association’s board of directors will vote to approve the merger.
“We have been actively trying to find someone to co-op with in football for the last two years,” Marion Superintendent Adam Shaw said. “We called the schools around us, and it worked out that Menno was looking for a co-op. We decided to get together.”
The two schools cited declining numbers in player interest and the high number of athletes a team needs to have as the reasons for conjoining. Outside of football, there will be no other co-op for either school.
“Football was the area we needed to do something with because in the other sports, we are able to maintain,” Menno Superintendent Chris Christensen said. “We have the numbers in basketball and volleyball, but in football, you need more numbers and older kids.”
The Menno/Marion football team will have a junior varsity team as well.
“We wanted the kids to be able to play JV and now they will,” said Christensen, who added that the safety of young athletes was also a determining factor in the merger. “We were looking at the safety of our kids because they were young. We were playing a lot of freshmen, and they were going against juniors and seniors.”
On the field, the new team will have co-head coaches, one from Menno and one from Marion. The assistants will also consist of coaches from each school.
The decision to go with a two-man head coaching crew was agreed upon by both school boards.
Marion also had co-head coaches when it co-oped with Hurley in 2005.
For Menno, this is its first co-op in football. It has previously co-oped with Scotland in wrestling. Marion also co-ops in wrestling with Freeman.
A system for transportation, games, cost of uniforms and practices has been put in place for the two schools, which are about 28 miles apart.
“We plan on splitting the cost of transportation and uniforms,” Christensen said. “We’ll split the practices with two weeks in Marion and two weeks in Menno. There will be two games in Menno and two games in Marion.”
If the team has any playoff home games, they will be played in Menno.
The team’s nickname and colors have not yet been selected for the co-op.
“Our school is excited for the opportunity, and I think it will be a good co-op that will last a long time,” Shaw said.