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|A little football...|
There are plans in the works to combine the junior high school football teams at Baskin, Crowville, Gilbert and Fort Necessity.
Let's hope those plans are given both thumbs up.
Franklin Parish head football coach Barry Sebren and athletic director Blake Wheeler, head football coach at Crowville School, approached the school board at their agenda meeting earlier this month with a plan to combine the Baskin and Crowville junior high football teams and the Gilbert and Fort Necessity junior high football teams.
This would create a north Franklin team and a south Franklin team.
Sebren said the two teams would then be divided into one team of seventh graders and one team of eighth graders.
At present, the four opposing teams compete against each other in the regular season.
If you have two teams who both field a seventh grade team and eighth grade team, you have more people on the same page.
And, believe me, after watching Natchez High School struggle through its consolidation back in 1989, having everybody on the same page is the only way to go.
Natchez High is a lot like Franklin Parish in that it competes in a district with far larger schools.
It took a few years to get the system down, but now it is paying off having one football team at the junior high level with the coaches working together.
Ask any successful high school coach what keeps his program successful and he will talk about the feeder program(s) from the junior high level.
You also have a chance for the players to build more of a camaraderie with their future schoolmates.
There's no doubt in my mind Sebren can set up a system that will be beneficial to Franklin Parish High's football program in the very near future.
Sure there's going to be some kinks to work out at first, but that's part of the process.
If you have two competitive teams at the junior high level, you can schedule games against schools from Monroe and Bastrop who these kids are going to face down the road.
You only have to see that four of the last five state champions in Class 4A have come from Franklin's district to know how important it is to have junior high players ready to compete at a higher level when they are freshmen.
Right now the playing field is not level, and one big reason for that is that Neville, Bastrop and Ruston all have excellent feeder programs.
I'm not saying there is not good football at the junior high level in Franklin Parish. But I can tell you it is not at the level it needs to be to get these kids ready for high school.
Combining the junior high programs will also give more youngsters a chance to start playing together earlier because they will be a team for seventh-graders and team for eighth-graders. Team chemistry is so much more important now.
Junior high football teams in Franklin Parish playing each other throughout the season is not going to get them ready for a very rugged district.
Here's hoping a plan can get approved that will improve the junior high football program in Franklin Parish. And here's hoping even more that when and if that plan is approved, everyone will get on board and be supportive.
Change is tough as people in Franklin Parish are well aware. It's not as tough if everybody works together and is pulling the same way. If you talk negative about the plan to the junior high players, than that negativity will destroy what can be a good thing.
If these young men realize how much this will benefit their high school playing days, they will on jump on board with a lot of enthusiasm knowing it will make their high school years even that much better.
No sport is as much of a team sport as football. It's time for a little teamwork in Franklin Parish.