Mechanicville and Hoosic Valley will both go it alone on the football field in the 2020 season after much discussion of a proposed merger between the high school programs.
"They have respectfully declined a merger at this time," Mechanicville Superintendent of Schools Bruce Potter posted on the Mechanicville City School District Facebook page Thursday.
Hoosic Valley and Mechanicville have both been struggling with low player numbers for several years. Potter said Hoosic Valley reached out to Mechanicville about a possible merger between the programs in late November, and parties from both schools had been in negotiations in recent weeks.
"We were happily willing to merge because we wanted to do what was best for both programs and all of the kids," Potter said.
"They reached out. We went back and forth. We could not come to an agreement," Mechanicville varsity football coach Craig Cavotta said. "They'll run their season, and we'll run our season."
Cavotta said Mechanicville is already preparing for the 2020 campaign.
"We have guys interested, and we've got guys in the weight room," Cavotta said. "We're plugging along."
In a letter to his constituents, Hoosic Valley Superintendent of Schools Michael Apostol wrote in part:
"After many meetings with parents, students, coaches and officials from Mechanicville, I have decided that it was best that Hoosic Valley does not merge at this time with Mechanicville for the 2020 football season. After lengthy discussions with Coach Eric Baker, I feel that playing out the 2020 season as the Hoosic Valley Indians would gave our student-athletes more equitable opportunity to play, most especially our seniors. The Hoosic Valley Football program is a vital part of our community. It has been woven into the social fabric of our community. Students, parents, former players and their parents and community members go to games and talk about their common interest whether it be their kids, the success or struggles of the team or about the school in general. I feel that the Football Community would lose that connection with a merge and an integral part of our community would no longer exist."
Apostol also wrote: "I want to thank Mechanicville for considering us for a merger. I also want to give them a shout out and tip my hat to them for their willingness to accommodate some of the proposals that we put forth. They handled the negotiations with the utmost professionalism and the utmost class."
Potter said Mechanicville will continue to listen to merger proposals for its football program if they come forth.
"We're going to do our absolute best to build our numbers, and that could include a merger," Potter said.
Potter and Cavotta both said there is a movement taking place at Mechanicville to increase student participation in all sports that the school offers.