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Yerington football made the right move

BY DARRELL MOODY

Appeal Sports Writer

I was saddened when I found out that Yerington High School was going to discontinue its football season.

It was the right move. I saw last week’s game against Fernley and it was brutal. It showed me that Yerington isn’t ready to compete with a good 3A team. Maybe the Lions could compete with a second-tier 3A team, but I doubt it. Yerington showed last year that they could be a 2A power in football.

Yerington has two options for the 2009 season: try to play 3A again, or put together an independent schedule. Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association commissioner Eddie Bonine said he is recommending that Yerington do the latter.

According to the NIAA, when the enrollment was checked last September, Yerington was just over the limit to play in 2A.

Bonine said there is no wiggle room. If you are over, you must move up. He also pointed out that Yerington had the option of playing an independent schedule this year. Maybe that’s what Yerington should have done. The only problem with being independent is that you are ineligible for postseason. There was no way Yerington was going to make postseason in football anyway.

Did the coach screw up? Did the school screw up? I’d say yes to both.

If the rules are hard and fast as Bonine says, then I think the school should have stayed as an independent for football. The school should have done what was best for its kids.

I’m assuming juniors and sophomores will be allowed to drop down and play junior varsity football. I feel sorry for the seniors, who have nowhere to play the rest of the season. It’s certainly not fair to them.

What happened to Yerington, though, is an example of what’s wrong with athletics in the state of Nevada.

The numbers need to be re-worked. If that takes state government legislation, so be it. Once Faith Lutheran moves to 4A and if Yerington eventually goes to 2A, Bonine said that would eventually leave the NIAA with nine 3A schools, which Bonine said is the minimum allowed for the organization to still hold a state championship.

Bonine said he would like to see the state divided into three classifications for every sport except football. I think that would be great.

In a sport like basketball, no matter the division, a team needs just two or three good players to be very good. Look at Virginia City. When the Lynch Mob was playing, the Muckers were better than a lot of 2A and 3A schools.

Football seems to be the sticking point for a lot of schools, and Bonine’s idea is to get people together. If it’s better to have six divisions, than so be it. He has the right idea, though no matter what the state comes up with, I’m sure somebody will complain.

The bottom line is that the NIAA and the state administrators should do whatever they can to level the playing field for all schools.

Football is a different beast and a difference of 200 or 300 enrollment is huge, especially if a good percentage of those kids are athletes.

It’s certainly no fun for Yerington parents to sit through what happened to the Lions last week. Heck, if Fernley had kept its first string players in, I have no doubt the Vaqueros could have scored 100 points.

I have no doubt that things will get better, but a lot of things need to happen. Schools need to put their petty jealousies aside and look at the big picture ” not just their own backyard.

– Contact Darrell Moody at dmoody@nevadaappeal.com or calling (775) 881-1281