Connect with us


Canton is too big for co-op program with Wolcott Tech

CANTON, Dec. 16, 2010 – Canton and Wolcott Tech will not field a co-op football team next fall because Canton will have more players than the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference (CIAC) allows to participate in a co-op program.

CIAC rules allow schools in co-op football programs to have a maximum of 32 athletes. At this time, Canton expects 40 athletes to participate with 14 players coming from youth football programs in Canton, Simsbury and Farmington.

Earlier this fall, officials from Wolcott Tech in Torrington initiated discussions about forming a co-op team with Canton. The Warriors began the year with 38 players but had just 28 healthy players dressed for the season finale with Ellington and nearly a dozen were freshmen.

Wolcott Tech dressed about 25 players in its season finale with Lewis Mills and estimate that they will have about 16 players returning next fall.

Canton High athletic director John Bement and Wolcott Tech athletic director Ray Tanguay had preliminary discussions about the possibility of a co-op team. Fellow Pequot Conference coaches were enthusiastic about the possibility.

Bement thought the co-op was a good idea because it would give the team more upperclassmen to practice against. Without enough older players, it can be difficult to challenge varsity players in practice, who end up competing against freshmen and other first-year players.

According to a preliminary co-op agreement, Canton would have been the host school and would have retained its Warrior identity and colors. The co-op team would have practiced and played home games in Canton.

Friends of Canton Football, the parent-run booster club that funds the football and girls lacrosse program, strongly opposed the co-op idea. They felt enough younger players have expressed interest in playing for Canton that the co-op wasn’t necessary.

In discussions this past week, Bement learned that 14 eighth grade athletes hope to play with the Warriors next fall. Nearly 30 of the 40 or so athletes will be freshmen and sophomores but it clearly over the CIAC mandated limit of 32 players for a co-op football program.

“The focus of the Canton program should be developing our younger players and allowing the feeder youth programs to provide the players of the future,” the group said in a prepared statement. “We are not supportive of a quick, short-term solution to a problem that is better solved by building a strong, fundamental football program that develops the players it does have.”

Meanwhile, Wolcott Tech is left to search for a co-op partner. The Wildcats finished its third varsity season in November with a 0-10 record. In three years, Wolcott Tech is 1-30 with its lone victory coming from a forfeit in 2009.

Canton plays in the Uncas Division of the Pequot Conference, which had six co-op teams this fall among its 10 members. Avon, Canton, Granby and Enfield were the non co-op teams.

Canton went 3-7 in its fourth varsity season since reinstating its football program in 2007 after a 34-year absence. In those four seasons, the Warriors are 11-30, including a 6-4 season in 2009 – its first winning season since 1958.

Gerry deSimas, Jr., is the editor and founder of The Collinsville Press. He is an award-winning writer and has been covering sports in Connecticut and New England for more than 40 years. He was inducted into the New England High School Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2018.

More in Football