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Friday, Aug. 25, 2017: East Hampton is the latest to drop football

   Leading off today: It's probably time for all the stakeholders at East Hampton to get together and decide whether it's worth the effort to continue its football program.

   Despite a healthy enrollment, district officials had to scrap the 2017 football program this week because there were only 14 varsity and nine JV players available.

   "We've tried everything to keep the program going, and our coaches were working extremely hard toward that end," AD Joe Vasile-Cozzo told Newsday. "We looked at all of our options and 14 is still 14. You need a minimum of 16 players to field a varsity."

   East Hampton last posted a winning season in 2009, going 5-4. Since, however, the team has not won more than three games in a season and folded midway through the 2014 season due to a lack of players. East Hampton is 11-42 since 2010 and was slated to play in the very competitive Suffolk County Division III this season.

   An honest assessment would indicate that the future isn't any brighter. Vasile-Cozzo said there were 48 middle-school players a year ago but just 24 this fall.

   But where are the high school athletes? East Hampton's slate of other fall sports for boys includes soccer, cross country, volleyball and golf. With a BEDS number of 715 this fall -- and the number on the upswing since bottoming out at 626 in 2014-15 -- East Hampton should have plenty of candidates for the football team.

   "Our goal is to build a foundation with this program from the bottom up and build it right," Vasile-Cozzo said. "We have no youth program anymore. But our coaches won't give up. They started Friday night flag football with middle school and elementary kids and the numbers are great with over 60 kids playing. We're hoping that helps us rebuild."


    • While looking up BEDS data on East Hampton, I also confirmed my suspicion that Frewsburg is going to need a new gameplan next year. Facing a shortage of players, Frewsburg combined with Randolph this fall in an arrangement that just barely allows the merged team to stay in Class D.

   A year from now, though, the ceiling for Class D drops from 239 to 229. On top of that, the sliding scale used to calculate BEDS numbers for combined programs changes. Barring a somewhat significant drop in enrollment at one or both schools, continuing the combined program in 2018 would place the team in Class C. It's doubtful that Randolph would want to be part of that arrangement unless its own participation numbers are so low that it has no alternative.

   Off to Syracuse: The most coveted senior still on the board in the world of New York football recruiting made his decision Thursday. Cardinal Hayes offensive lineman Qadir White football site

picked Syracuse over Auburn and Maryland, arguably giving second-year Orange coach Dino Babers his biggest in-state win thus far.

   "I knew it was Syracuse because they have been showing a lot of love, a lot of interest and they out-recruited the other schools also looking to get me to their school," the 6-foot-7, 335-pound lineman told News 12 Varsity. "I felt it was in my gut it was Syracuse, so I decided to pick them."

   White returned from a preseason MCL injury midway through the 2016 season to help his team win the CHSFL Class AAA championship with a 41-39 triumph against Archbishop Stepinac.

    • You can view the list of 25 New York seniors who've committed to Football Bowl Subdivision programs so far this cycle.

   Back to practice: The Mount Saint Michael Academy football team returned to practice Thursday for the first time since Dominick Bess, a 14-year-old player from the Bronx, died on the field during a practice earlier this week. reported it could take up to two weeks to determine the cause of death for Bess.

   Penalized: One of Louisiana's most successful football programs was hit with penalties in connection with a series of recruiting violations from recent championship seasons.

   Southern Lab School in Baton Rouge was made to forfeit state Division IV titles from the past two seasons and will also be ineligible for the postseason this fall and next, the Louisiana High School Athletic Association announced.

   Southern Lab fired head coach Marcus Randall, a former quarterback at Louisiana State University.

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