MOORE COUNTY, N.C. -- Pinecrest High School has only 25 varsity football players, well below the average for most 4-A schools.
"It's heartbreaking," said Pinecrest senior Jay Heimrich.
School officials confirmed that Heimrich is one of only four seniors on the Patriot football squad.
"Obviously, every kid is out here giving his all," he said. "We've been here all summer."
Because of the low participation at the varsity level in recent years, school officials said that only junior varsity and freshman schedules might be played this season. School leaders, coaches, and parents will meet to discuss the future of the team early next week.
The school's principal, Joel County, said it's the numbers not the talent level that might cost the team its season.
"We've got some skilled participants," said County. "It's the number that concerns us."
Because of low participation, players would have to play both offense and defense for the entire season, with very little substitutions available. County said he fears for their safety.
"Our concern is putting kids out on the field and incurring more than you'd expect from playing football," County said.
If the varsity season is cut short, the school could face fines from the conference and seniors like Heimrich would likely see their high school careers come to a disappointing end.
"The kids looking forward to scholarships," Heimrich said. "It's just a heartbreaker, it's not looking too good."
So what? What does it matter if you only have 25 players. When I played at WCHS we where lucky to have that many players. As far as playing both offense and defense, many of us did that every game of the season. Let the kids play.