Plug Pulled on Football

Craig Macnaughton

Joe Vas, the East Hampton School District's athletic director, announced Thursday that the school will again field no varsity or junior varsity football teams this fall.

"The bottom line," he said, "was the lack of numbers — we only had 14 show up for practices on a regular basis. To field a team you need a minimum of 16."

Joe McKee, the varsity football coach, who has tried his best to boost the program from the early grades on up in the past few years, told the players of the administrative decision on Wednesday.

Dawn Tuthill, whose son would have been the Bonackers' quarterback, wrote in a Facebook post: "A sad day. As my son, Jacen, went up to have his picture taken for Newsday as one of the top 100 players on Long Island, it was announced that East Hampton's football program is no longer. . . . There are a few of them who are passionate about the sport and are so upset that it has ended for them, and in their senior year. . . . So sad."

This is the second time in the past four years that East Hampton, which began playing football in 1923, has had no varsity football team.

Vas, who said he had heard there would be no Police Athletic League teams this year, as well, said football will continue to be played at the middle school, with Nick Finazzo, Scott Abran, and Dave Fioriello as the coaches. "We're hoping to rebuild, but I can't give you any time frame. We used to have 48 to 50 on the middle school team — last year we had 20," the A.D. said.

Don Reese, who heads up the youth basketball and football teams here, said on Friday that "we do have a fifth-and-sixth-grade team, the same as last year. We're not folding up."

The decision to pull the plug this week was made, he said, so that the players who were turning out for football practices could switch to other fall sports if they wished.

Don McGovern, who assists Rich King with East Hampton's boys soccer program, said today that 84 are trying out for varsity and jayvee soccer.
--
Correction: An earlier version of this story mistakely reported that the status of Police Athletic teams this year. There will be no police athletic teams this year, according to Joe Vas, the East Hampton School District's athletic director.