South Whidbey football’s 42-8 win over Valley View Secondary on Sept. 15 not only broke a 20-game losing streak, but also marked the first time in a year where freshmen could play in a varsity game.
The school’s athletic policy this past season did not allow freshmen to suit up, a situation which South Whidbey Athletic Director Paul Lagerstedt called “unique”; the 2016 team had roughly 14 varsity players and Lagerstedt was concerned that if freshmen were asked to play, they “we’re going to be playing a lot of minutes.” He said the Falcons would have forfeited before letting freshmen play the majority of the game.
Lagerstedt said the game on Sept. 15 is indicative of the policy he has going forward this year, where freshmen will only play in certain situations. By the start of the third quarter, the Falcons had built a considerable lead over the British Columbia team, which was new to the sport of football. The lead afforded South Whidbey the chance to substitute freshmen into the game and provide them experience under the lights.
“We’re going to look at teams and look at opportunities,” Lagerstedt said. “…Obviously, special teams is a real common way, historically, to give freshmen some experience in a varsity game.”
Head football coach Mark Hodson echoed Lagerstedt’s sentiments, saying freshmen will only play if it is “the right circumstance.”
“Every kid that dressed down in that game played in a varsity game,” Hodson said. “It was the right circumstance. It was the right choice. It was a safe environment and it was a good competitive place for them to be.”