Struggling to field its own high school football team for the third year in a row, Greenleaf Friends Academy will join forces with neighboring Wilder this fall.
The Idaho High School Activities Association Board of Directors finalized the co-op at its board meeting Wednesday, allowing the two 1A schools to join forces for eight-man football only in the 1A Division I Western Idaho Conference.
Greenleaf, a private Christian school, and Wilder are five miles apart. Greenleaf previously combined with Rimrock, 78 miles away, in 2015 to compete under Greenleaf’s banner.
The Grizzlies went 0-6 that season and went 1-19 from 2013-15 with their only win coming in a forfeit against Sho-Ban in 2014. They did not field a team last season.
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Greenleaf last won a game on the field in 2012, when it went 5-4.
Greenleaf Athletic Director Larry Taylor said he expects one to four Grizzlies to join Wilder’s football team, which went 6-4 last year and reached the state playoffs. Taylor plans the co-op to last for two seasons with the option to re-evaluate after this fall.
“My goal, if our population grows enough, is we’d have our own team,” Taylor said. “But if not, we’ll stay with a combined team if we have one that works for us.”
Greenleaf had 45 students last school year, while Wilder hosted 100 students, according to the IHSAA enrollment counts. The former rivals last faced off on the football field in 2011.
The Idaho Statesman studied the threat declining enrollment in small schools across Idaho poses to eight-man football programs in 2015. You can read that story here.