Dengler Domain: Football
There has been no final decision to drop from eleven-man football to eight-man football, but if it does happen, the North Tama Redhawks will probably be successful. When the Redhawks dropped from Class 1A to Class A – North Tama was competitive. When I entered high school, we became one of the best teams in the state. This was not because of me despite my phenomenal field goal holding skills.
A lot, if not all, the teams we played in high school are in the eight-man division like HLV or Montezuma. Sadly, Gladbrook-Reinbeck went from 1A, when I was a senior, to eight-man a few years ago, before this possible time for North Tama. I did not know North Tama was this close to switching to eight-man until seeing a picture of this year’s team. The number of boys playing is almost half of what it was when I graduated in 2010.
I do not remember the numbers when North Tama dropped from 1A to A, but I am sure during that change there were more players out for football or at least more prospective players than in 2010. With these lower numbers, dropping down will help North Tama competitively compete on the gridiron. While it is tough for a school like North Tama who has had a successful football program over the years, it could be for the best. Years ago, North Tama made the switch from the NICL Conference to the Iowa Star Conference and playing schools with comparable size of the Redhawks paid dividends.
If North Tama sticks to eleven man, I commend them. Staying in eleven-man provides a sense of pride for however long the Redhawks can compete in Class A. Unfortunately, this potential switch to eight-man is blinking red light meaning less students are attending North Tama. Unless there is another school consolidation or a bunch of families show up at North Tama’s doorstep, the eight-man switch may be all but inevitable.
Iowa’s economy, unfortunately, does not help. To save the football programs and the school districts themselves, the state of Iowa needs to invest in their rural economies through tourism in our beautiful state, manufacturing, and whatever else can help. Agriculture can only go so far and the further consolidation of farmland with fewer and fewer farmers living and farming the land means less children to fill out the classrooms and athletic teams.
One way the state can protect these schools and athletic teams is by adequately funding them, but unfortunately, the party in control of the three branches of Iowa government has not provided this opportunity. This party has held the trifecta for a number of years, and this year according to Iowa Public Radio, provided a 2.5% increase to public schools, but under chapter 20 of Iowa Code, schools are required to give their teachers a raise of 3% percent or the consumer price index rate, which was at 8.5% in March. In past years, the party in charge increased school funding less than the inflation rate so potentially expect these schools to be hit hard by inflation and more consolidations.
I hope whether the Redhawks play in eleven or in eight-man, they are successful, and all the other teams will also have success. I never thought I would see such a successful volleyball team at North Tama. I would say the same thing about cross country, but girls in the North Tama school district have known how to run for a long time. At the end of the day, I hope North Tama continues to stay around and hopefully grow their student enrollment. What is best for everyone in the community is to see the Redhawks fly high forever.
Telegraph note: The North Tama Telegraph will provide full coverage of the North Tama County Community School District’s Wednesday meeting regarding a possible move from Class A high school football to 8-Player in next week’s edition of the newspaper.