POLK COUNTY, Neb. – Due to dwindling numbers and a strong junior high partnership, the Osceola and High Plains High School football teams will form a co-op to join forces for the next two seasons.
The two Polk County schools have already had a junior high co-op going for three years now, that has been a good fit for both districts, according to Osceola Superintendent Steven Rinehart, who supports the move.
“It’s very amicable for both districts, says Rinehart. “A win-win.”
The move was also made as both schools reported smaller boys enrollment numbers than past years. High Plains Superintendent Brian Tonniges also said his school has seen a decreased participation in football in recent seasons.
While the schools are still working out the details, it appears the co-op will use the name the Stormdogs, already being used by the junior high co-op, with the uniforms using blue and orange as its main colors. This combines portions of both schools mascots and team colors into the new team.
The schools will split home games between Osceola and Polk, where High Plains is located.
Tonniges says it will allow the varsity level players the chance to play with other athletes at their ability level, while also benefitting the underclassmen as well.
“It gives an opportunity for our students, even our younger players, to have a JV schedule,” says Tonniges.
The co-op will still allow both teams to play in 8-man, with both schools combining for a boys enrollment of 47, which is the maximum number of boys for Class D.
The co-op will be in place for two years and then re-evaluated, according to Rinehart.