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The Virginian - Pilot (Norfolk, VA.)
Another northern Virginia high school is suspending its varsity football program for the 2018 season due to a lack of participation.
Manassas Park High School will play a junior varsity schedule, principal Pamela Kalso wrote in a letter to parents. Team practices were routinely drawing only 15 players, she said, which raised safety concerns.
"In consultation with the (Virginia High School League)," she wrote, "their recommendation is that no member school which has less than 25 students physically fit and eligible for participation engage in varsity football."
There is a "strong plan" in place, she said, to revive the team in 2019.
Manassas Park is the second area program in recent weeks to drop its varsity football team. Park View High in Sterling canceled its varsity schedule after only 18 players reported for tryouts.
"Given the competitive nature of Park View's schedule, we didn't want the players exposed to a heightened risk of injury," Loudoun County Public Schools information officer Wayde Byard said.
He added that in the 18 years he has worked for the county school system, this is the first time a varsity football team has folded.
The declines come amid the sport's struggles nationwide. High school football has battled in some communities to maintain a foothold.
Centennial High School in Ellicott City, Md., disbanded its varsity squad last year amid similar issues.
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