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Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Terry co-op will add depth to Red Devil football team

By Jason Stuart

Ranger-Review Staff Writer

Dawson County High School’s football team will be able to put a few extra dogs in the fight over the next three years as both the Glendive and Terry school boards have approved a three-year co-op agreement for Terry High School football players to suit up for the Red Devils.

The Glendive Unified School Board unanimously approved the football co-op with Terry on Monday night. Terry’s school board had approved pursuing a football co-op with DCHS by a 4-1 vote at their December meeting. The co-op agreement must now go before the Montana High School Association for approval.

Under the terms of the draft agreement, which Glendive Superintendent Stephen Schreibeis noted is still being finalized, Terry players will suit up alongside DCHS players and compete on the field as the Red Devils. Terry High School will also be allowed to hire a coach to place on the DCHS coaching staff with head coach Ryan Buckley’s input. DCHS will also retain all football gate receipts and collect the funds from a $10 football activity pass sold to Terry football fans, among other details hammered out in the agreement.

Schreibeis noted that DCHS currently has a co-op with Wibaux for softball and has had other co-ops with rural schools in the past, so the board wouldn’t be breaking any new ground.

“We have the softball co-op with Wibaux and we’ve had co-ops in the past in cross country and wrestling, so this is not new territory for us,” Schreibeis said.

The GUSB quickly voted to approve the football co-op. Board member Paul Hopfauf made the motion to approve the co-op, saying it was the right thing to do to ensure that Terry students wanting to play football would have a place to do so next year.

“It’s an exciting opportunity and it gives these kids an opportunity to play that they might not have had otherwise,” Hopfauf said.

Terry Public Schools Superintendent Angie Williams, who was in attendance, thanked the GUSB for their support for the co-op.

“Thank you. I look forward to working with you guys,” Williams said after the vote concluded.

Williams said Terry, which had been playing Class C 6-man football for several years, faced a stark choice heading into next year as the  high school’s male student population has bottomed out for the time being. 

“We might have 20 boys in the whole high school, but I think we only had six who were going to be playing football,” Williams said.

Williams added that Terry board members and parents felt like they had to make a quick decision because the MHSA deadline to apply for co-ops is this month, so it was a choice between going that route or “rolling the dice and taking a chance” that they may or may not have enough players to field a football team next fall.

“We had a few parents concerned about what was going to be happening with football next year and we knew if we were going to co-op we were going to have to move fast,” Williams said. “Our options are just pretty bleak right now for the next three years. We just don’t have many boys coming up who are going to be playing football.”

Williams said that once they decided to pursue a co-op, Terry considered forming that partnership with either DCHS or Circle High School. She said Glendive made more logistical sense, being closer and an easier trip down the interstate from Terry than the drive to Circle.

“Glendive just seemed to be the better option,” Williams said.

Buckley is happy Terry chose to partner with DCHS for football.

“It’s good. I’m excited for it. I think it’ll be a good fit,” Buckley said.

Besides being happy to give Terry kids who want to play football the opportunity to keep doing so, Buckley added that the timing is beneficial for him as well, as he is losing 15 seniors off the 2017 team and the next two classes coming up are considerably smaller. Given that he was also facing reduced numbers  for football next year, the co-op with Terry is particularly opportune.

“Our numbers are going to be down a little bit next year, so it’ll help there no doubt,” Buckley said. “It ain’t gonna hurt us for sure.”

Williams noted that Terry has three players who are “for certain going to be interested in going to Glendive.”

For Terry fans, not seeing the Terriers take the gridiron next year for the first time in school history will no doubt be painful, but Williams said the Terry faithful just need to be a little patient, vowing that the co-op with DCHS will not be a permanent fixture.

“Just give us three years and we’ll have the numbers again,” Williams said. “It’s not the end for Terry football.”

Reach Jason Stuart at rrreporter@rangerreview.com.

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