Coach cancels JV football for season


Graphic by: Silas Chisam

In the midst of the junior varsity football team’s season, head coach Nathan Liess made the decision to discontinue the JV /reserve team.

“We are down to eight, healthy offensive linemen,” Liess said. “Obviously it takes five to make a starting offensive line group. Of those eight, five need to be held back for varsity play so that only leaves three for reserves.”

Liess said the decision was consequential of an increase in injuries throughout the team. From concussions to ACL tears, players have had to take time off for healing.

“That’s the decision that had to be made,” Liess said. “It wasn’t in our best interest to try to make people who weren’t linemen be linemen just so we could play games.”

Varsity suited up around 30 players within the last couple weeks. Liess said for a school the size of East, that is unacceptable if the team wants to be competitive. The decision to cut JV affected players differently. For sophomore Jordan Ramirez, this meant more exposure and playing time on varsity.

“I was upset about it at first because I start on JV, but I also knew it was better for our varsity team to get better.”

While some players benefited, others had a different experience. Junior Brandon Fernandez quit soon after the decision was made.

“I wasn’t getting much playing time on varsity and then they stopped the JV games, so I didn’t really see the point of going to practices and games anymore if I wasn’t going to play,” Fernandez said.

Concerns about the future of Chieftain football have been discussed among the players. With injuries and athletes transferring or quitting, sophomore Dalton Hike is one of several players worried about the quality of the team and the direction of the program.

“I honestly don’t think there’s going to be a change. I think it might get worse because people are going to see that we aren’t doing that good as a team and they aren’t going to want to play for us,” Hike said. “There just aren’t that many kids and we aren’t that good of a program right now so it’s going to be hard to change if we do.”

However, Liess said he is focused on building the numbers so they do not run into this problem again next year and he hopes to reinstate the JV team next season.

“With increased success at the varsity level, I think that will build the numbers but we have got to try to start them a little younger getting them to want to be a Chieftain,” Liess said.