WEB: Pinecrest Varsity Football Season Could be Cut Short
The future of the Pinecrest varsity football season is up in the air.
Athletic Director John Buchholz confirmed Wednesday that a meeting has been called for early next week to discuss playing only a junior varsity and freshmen schedule for the remainder of this season. The main concern, he said, is the low number of varsity-caliber players available.
"We are considering all sides of the situation," he said, "but we haven't made any decision. Our main concern is the students."
The Patriots began the season two weeks ago with a loss to Union Pines and a varsity roster of only 25 players, a mere five of them returning from 2005. In Friday's 40-6 loss to St. Pauls, only six of the 27 players dressed to play were seniors.
Pinecrest has non-conference games scheduled against Southern Lee on Friday and Terry Sanford next week before having to face powerful conference foes Scotland County and Richmond County.
The low number of seniors in the program dates back to 2003, when less than 20 came out for the team.
On the bright side for Pinecrest football, more than 40 freshmen came out for this year's team. Almost 60 players dressed for the JV team's only game of the season so far against Union Pines.
The coaching staff went into this season planning to keep the underclassmen on the freshmen and JV teams, saying that it was in the best interest of the program in the long term.
If the two younger teams were the only ones to finish the season, Pinecrest will suffer the loss of gate revenues for the four remaining home games and might receive a fine from the conference. It will also mark the end of their careers for the seniors.
Buchholz expects a decision to be made early next week. Friday's opponent, Southern Lee, is a second year school that played a JV schedule only last year.
"Hopefully we'll have community support for whatever we decide to do," Buchholz said.
Larry Adams, the second year head coach of the Patriots, has been out this week with an illness and spent most of Wednesday at a hospital. After the loss to St. Pauls, he spoke frankly about the state of his varsity squad.
"We're a JV football team," he said, "a lot of sophomores and juniors that have not played before to speak of. When (St. Pauls) had their second string in there, which is a step ahead of the JV team they left home, we can play with them.
"We're playing at our level. We're playing a JV-level football game. That's where we're at in the program right now."
Left together, last year's freshmen and sophomores finished the JV season on a high note.
Adams and a short-handed coaching staff made strides with the players in the weight room in the off-season.
"The program is better since Coach Adams has been here than it's been in four or five years," Buchholz said. "I think we're heading in the right direction."
Check Friday's Pilot and ThePilot.com for updates on this developing story.
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