The number of football players at Friends School had been dwindling for a few years, with only about 20 on the varsity team last season. This fall, only about 10 tried out, so the Quakers could not field a team.
“We’ve had a small team for quite some time and been able to make it work,” Friends athletic director Kara Carlin said, “but we sort of did have a drop-dead number, and that was obviously way below what we would be able to support a program with.”
Last year, the Quakers finished 3-5, their most wins since 2012. They had one win in the four-team Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association C Conference.
Another C Conference program, Concordia Prep, had to drop its football program midseason in 2015 when some injuries left them with too few players. The Saints didn’t field a team in 2016 but brought the program back last year and are now in first place in the conference.
Carlin said Friends coaches tried to drum up more interest over the summer but knew a couple weeks before preseason that they wouldn’t have enough players.
“We emailed all our kids and tried to get more interest from the student body and realized our numbers were going to be too low,” Carlin said. “We reached out to some local club programs and other groups that I think Concordia played with just to see if some of our kids could play for them for the year, but we didn’t have a huge interest in that either.”
The Quakers do not have a junior varsity team either, but Carlin said the middle school program, which plays flag football, has about 15 players.
Carlin said she hopes interest will pick up again and that Friends will be able to bring back the program, but time will tell.
“I don’t have a lot of people banging down the door,” she said, “It’s a numbers thing and if kids are interested, we would love to add it back, but until we have more kids interested, it’s going to be tricky. We’re keeping our middle school program with the hope that it will continue to grow some interest for the upper school program.”