As high school football teams around Idaho started practice Monday, one field remained empty as Greenleaf couldn’t muster enough players to support a team for the first time since 2002.
The Grizzlies, which play eight-man football in the 1A Division I Western Idaho Conference, only saw six players express interest to play this fall in May, Athletic Director Larry Taylor said. Greenleaf also won’t field a junior varsity team.
Taylor said Parma offered to let Greenleaf players join its team, but players balked at the travel and some will instead run cross country.
The private school hosted 50 students last year and combined with Rimrock to field a single team that competed under a Greenleaf banner. But Taylor said a large freshman class boosted Rimrock’s enrollment, making a partnership no longer necessary.
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“I really think football is important, so we’ll re-evaluate and we’ll try every year,” Taylor said. “Our student population is down a little, so if your student population grows that will ease that issue and make it a lot easier to deal with.”