Falcon Flyer Fall 2018 - Page 10

The media says that the popularity of football is on a decline. But football at Saddle Brook High School is still here.

Football is something that most people associate with American culture, but the truth is that fewer and fewer parents are letting their children play football. Between concussions, broken bones, torn ACLs, and many other perils that are involved with this dangerous contact sport, many parents want to keep their children far from danger’s touchdown zone. There is definitely a stigma around football: one that many are buying into. Many football programs in high schools are being dropped and more co-ops, or two schools combining to create one program, are being formed in North Jersey.

In a small town like Saddle Brook, only so many kids are enrolled in the district and are eligible to participate. The number of students that are eligible to play does not properly account for those that fear the extreme consequences of a dangerous play, or for those that choose to jump ship. North Jersey is home to some of the most recruited athletes from all around the country, but one fact holds true for a majority of those recruits: they mostly come from large schools. Large schools have it made in the NJSIAA. They receive the most money, have the largest selection of athletes to choose from, and use crazy technology to train and play. Catholic schools are even more set, as they can give athletes

scholarships to convince them to play there. And, a lot of the time, large schools are targeting big talents from small districts. A lot of the talent that grows up here in Saddle Brook does decide to leave, which is a big hit for our hometown program that depends on fresh faces that know the game coming in every year.

All of those obstacles, which notably harm the participation levels, have succeeded in stopping the Friday Night lights from shining for many football programs across the state, but the program in Saddle Brook is still alive and kicking. The Falcons have a roster full of talent, as they have demonstrated in every one of their games. So far this year, the Falcons have not lost by more than two touchdowns in any game. Their stellar defense has kept the scoring margin low overall and has held the opposing defense to less than a touchdown in every single first quarter.

Before anyone forms any kind of opinion on the Saddle Brook High School Football team, one should take a look at the big picture. Football participation is decreasing more and more every year. The selection of players a town the size Saddle Brook has is small to begin with. Every year, many talented athletes go out of district Yet, through all of this, we persist. We put out a more than competent team every weekend that hustles and plays with heart.

I appreciate the media’s concern for small-school programs. But we’re here to stay.

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SBHS Football: Tougher Than The Rest

By: Bianca Ianiello, '20

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