ANACORTES — Anacortes will not field a varsity football team for the 2019 season.
Athletic Director Erik Titus said the school opted out of a varsity schedule because of few juniors and seniors interested in playing.
“We have 10 total and some of those are maybe,” he said. “You simply can’t throw sophomores into that fire, into that situation. It’s a safety risk at this level. You have to have the numbers. You have to have the kids who want to play.”
Anacortes will field a junior varsity team and possibly a C team, said coach Chris Hunter.
The Seahawks had 31 players on their varsity roster a season ago, and that number shrunk as the season progressed.
Titus said he sat down with Hunter after the coach raised concerns about low turnout for spring football.
The two met with players and their parents, then contacted representatives from the Northwest Conference, the Northwest District and the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association to make sure there would be no ill effects from not fielding a varsity team.
Varsity-caliber Anacortes players looking to continue to play can do so next season at Mount Vernon. The two schools have an agreement that will allow that to happen.
“Oak Harbor could have possibly worked, but they would have had to bump up to (Class) 4A,” Titus said about such agreements affecting a school’s enrollment. “Mount Vernon is already at the top at 4A, so that was not a factor. They (Mount Vernon) have been awesome to work with. They took all the necessary steps to include us and we can’t thank them enough.”
Titus doesn’t see this as an end to Anacortes football.
He said about 30 sophomores and freshmen are set to play.
“Those numbers are good,” Titus said. “Now we just need them to mature and hopefully see those numbers increase.”
Anacortes has four junior varsity games scheduled — at home against Lynden Christian, Bellingham and Sehome, and on the road against Coupeville.
Titus said Anacortes’ decision to not field a varsity team will have no impact on postseason allocations for the Northwest Conference.