Leakey Football Moves Forward
The mood of the meeting was serious as the Leakey School Board quizzed the district’s Athletic Director, Donnie Dutton; Head Football Coach, Josh Stacey; Assistant Football Coach, Brian Leiker; and Principal, DeeAnna Blanton regarding the pros and cons of considering 6-Man Football. Athletic Director Dutton said, “Serious injuries have plagued the Leakey Eagle Junior High and High School teams this year as they faced older and larger players on the other teams.” Coach Stacey added that just last week a junior high school student broke his arm, and a high school student was diagnosed with a concussion.
Leakey is currently one of the smallest schools in the state still trying to field an 11-Man team. It has been years since Leakey has been able to win more than 50% of its games. But the Board members agreed that more important than any win-loss record is the safety of our local athletes. Currently, due to injuries, only 16 students will be able to play football this Friday night and many of them are young players. One game was already forfeited this year due to injuries.
Next week the district’s Athletic Director and Superintendent must file the district’s intent to not only play UIL Football next school year but also whether or not it would be 6-Man or 11-Man Football. Just last year Nueces Canyon and before that Medina ISD faced the same crossroad and successfully transitioned to 6-Man Football. In the 1970’s Leakey was a powerhouse in the state’s 8-Man Football league, an option no longer available.
In February the UIL will release which teams Leakey will play next school year in six-man football. Hopefully, it will include our neighbors Medina and Nueces Canyon and other teams that are in close proximity as more small schools consider this option. Coaches Dutton, Stacey, and Leiker assured the Board that they can easily make the transition to coaching Six-Man Football. Coach Stacey cited that his own uncle had done so after many years of coaching 11-Man. He also cited that the move will allow the program to bring back JV Football so students can learn the craft of football playing students their own size. Coach Dutton already has many years experience coaching 6-Man Football and sees the transition, including a shorter 80-Yard Field, doable. Mrs. Blanton, Principal of Leakey School, says that she loves the “faster pace” of 6-Man football used by her previous school, Zephyr.
In the end, a motion was made and passed to move the Leakey School Football program to 6-Man Football for the next two years. In the future as larger classes move up, the district could decide to go back to 11-Man Football. The decision is made every two years according to Coach Dutton. In the meantime, the safety of the current athletes took a front seat. Superintendent, Barbara Skipper, commended the Board for making such a difficult decision.
Press release sent by
Barbara Skipper Ed.D. Leakey Superintendent