Healdsburg high varsity football team votes to disband

The Healdsburg High School varsity football team voted to disband on Monday following their first two games. 

Principal Bill Halliday said the decision was made by players after two blowout losses of 41-0 and 61-0 to start the season. 

“I hate to see what’s happened and it’s disappointing for the whole community,” Halliday said. “This school has a great history of football. We won championships for years and years.”

Athletic Director and Head Football Coach Dave Stine said the varsity team started the season will low enrollment numbers. A total of 18 players made up the team. After losing the first two games, five players quit. 

“I had a team meeting,” Stine said. “I wanted to see who was committed. We wanted to keep the program going, but not enough kids, after a blind vote, wanted to keep things going.”

It was a 7 to 6 vote to disband the team. 

“We’ve got some hurt feelings, some seniors  who are disappointed because it’s their last year and some sophomores who were excited to be on varsity,” Halliday said. “It was not an easy decision.”

The administrators said a variety of factors likely contributed to low enrollment numbers for football. They said more students are choosing to only play one sport and some parents may have concerns about football safety, though Stine noted that safety has increased in recent years. He said players are taught to tackle without their head and there is limited contact during practices. 

While the varsity team is a loss, the junior varsity team is thriving and will now be the main attraction on Friday nights for the rest of the season. 

“We’re really optimistic in the years to come because this group carries the kind of team energy that builds a program,” Halliday said. 

“I think this year it’s just an anomaly,” Stine added. “Next year we should be back with the varsity program pretty strong.” 

Halliday said he boosters program may take a hit on concessions and homecoming will have to be tweaked. Opposing teams are now rearranging their game schedules. The team was set to play San Rafael on Friday.