Elk Lake looking at football options


The Elk Lake School Board is revisiting the idea of allowing its students to play football for Montrose.

At Tuesday’s meeting, the board agreed to study the possibility. That met with the approval of about a half dozen parents who attended the meeting.

Most of the parents who showed up said they had read Superintendent William Bush’s comments that there was no interest among school officials about joining with Montrose.

They wondered why the idea was being dismissed so quickly, especially since there would be little or no expense for Elk Lake.

“There’s no cost for the program itself. I don’t understand why there’s even any discussion,” said Jamie Heft of Lawton.

Board member Eric Emmerich said he received some calls from parents wondering if there was any chance Elk Lake would reconsider Montrose’s offer to take Elk Lake students.

Emmerich said the matter had never come up before.

“Quite frankly, we haven’t spent any time on the issue. It’s not a closed thing at all,” Emmerich said.

Earlier this month, it was reported that Montrose Area Superintendent Michael Ognosky met with Bush and offered to take Elk Lake students on its team.

At the time, Bush said there was no support for such an agreement.

After Tuesday’s meeting, Bush said he was referring to a plan to have specific Elk Lake students eligible to play for Montrose immediately. He said he never precluded anything long-term.

Most of those at the meeting said they had children or grandchildren who play youth football in Montrose or another surrounding community. They said they wanted the opportunity for those students to continue playing when they reach high school age.

“It’s a great program and I think it would be a darn shame if our kids couldn’t play up there,” Tom Malandri of Springville said of the Montrose Area High School team.

Rob Heft said he knows of some youngsters in the area who want to play youth football, but don’t because they know they won’t be able to continue once they reach high school age.

“Parents don’t send them because there’s no future option,” Heft said.

Jamie Heft said she discussed the matter with Ognosky, who explained that PIAA classifications and conference alignments are made on a two-year cycle. An agreement between the two schools couldn’t begin until 2012 anyway, she said, giving Elk Lake plenty of time to study the matter.

Elk Lake already has a reciprocal agreement with Montrose, in that Montrose athletes may compete on Elk Lake’s girls’ swimming team.

Board president Chuck Place noted that other school districts in Susquehanna County have a football agreement similar to what was being discussed. Students at Blue Ridge are eligible to play football for Susquehanna.

Place suggested contacting those two districts to learn details of their programs, and how Elk Lake should proceed. And Emmerich said details should be obtained from Montrose officials as to what would be expected from Elk Lake and its students.

The board decided to form a committee to look into the matter, consisting of Emmerich, high school Principal Ken Cuomo, and three parents to be selected from among themselves.

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