MIDDLEBURG – It’s been a long road, but a football program is finally coming to Midd-West School District. During Monday’s school board meeting, the board approved to begin the football program starting next season.
School board president Victor Abate, “It was very moving to see the expression on those students’ faces. We weren’t going to let those students without a place to play. That was not an option. I believe our superintendent said that from day one when the co-op ended last February with EJ (East Juniata).”
The approval comes still without a sought after a grant from the NFL’s new High School Kick Start program. School board president Victor Abate tells WKOK the district didn’t want to wait and is prepared to pay some of the expenses that come with it. Abate says the district will pay for coaches, PIAA officials, building and ground employees, and event personnel using proceeds from ticket sales. Abate says those expenses will cost the district about $21,000.
The rest of the expenses will be paid by the Midd-West Quarterback Club, “With the way the state budget’s been the last three or four years and revenue, it was hard for us to justify that cost. This way we had a shared burden on the finances for both the Midd-West Quarterback Club and the taxpayers, and my colleagues were able to deal with that.”
As far as hearing from the NFL, Abate says he thinks no news is good news, but he says we could know within the next two weeks, “The director of District 4 PIAA stated back in August the NFL was supposed to make an announcement during the Pro Bowl or the Super Bowl. I’m still cautiously optimistic we will hear something from them.”
All home games will be played at West Snyder Elementary in Beaver Springs. Abate says the district looking try to use idle land high school grounds as a practice field to save transportation costs to West Snyder. The football team will also be an independent for the first two seasons. Abate also says the new varsity coaching staff will be interviewed by the school athletic director and principal, with the Superintendent overseeing the interview process.