Cedar Ridge Won’t Field Varsity Football Team in 2018

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Updated: June 19, 2018

Eight years ago, the Cedar Ridge Red Wolves were one win away from playing for the 2-AA State Football Championship.

This fall, they won’t field a varsity team.

In a statement released by the Orange County Schools on Tuesday night, the system announced that Cedar Ridge will not field a varsity football team for the 2018 season. The statement cited safety and lack of players as the reason.

“Currently, the Cedar Ridge High School football program has five rising seniors, nine rushing juniors, 15 rising sophomores and 22 freshman who have committed to play football in the fall,” the statement reads. “We have had some of our student athletes in recent weeks choose not to play football for a variety of reasons.”

“After considering the injury data and the number of student athletes committed to play football in the fall, we have decided to not field a varsity football team in the fall of 2018.”

The statement confirmed that the school will field a junior varsity football team and play a full schedule of games.

“This will give our freshman, sophomores and juniors the opportunity to play against peers of similar size and strength,” according to the statement.

Cedar Ridge becomes the second Big 8 Conference school in as many years to not field a varsity football team. In 2017, East Chapel Hill only had a junior varsity squad. Last month, East Athletic Director Randy Trumbower hired Brian Nunn as its new head coach and plans to return to varsity competition in August.

It’s a bitter pill to swallow for a program that was one win away from playing in the 2-AA state championship game in 2010. Since losing to Elizabeth City Northeastern 21-7 on December 3, 2010, Cedar Ridge has gone 21-56 through five head coaches. It’s only winning season in that span was in 2015.

Last spring, Cedar Ridge Football Coach Scott Loosemore said he knew numbers could possibly be a problem for 2018. In 2017, Loosemore attracted enough players from other sports to play varsity, and even had enough for a junior varsity team for the first time in four years. Nonetheless, Cedar Ridge went 1-10.

In the offseason, several Cedar Ridge players told Loosemore they would not be returning for 2018, including starting quarterback Phillip Berger, an all-Big 8 Conference pitcher.

In an attempt to improve participation numbers, Loosemore voluntarily stayed after school to attend basketball, lacrosse, wrestling and baseball games to encourage players to go out for football. He worked with students in the weight room that weren’t football players. His main purpose was to get them to play football.

It was something he did when he was the head coach at Eastern Guilford, a school that is now a 3A power. When Loosemore took over the reigns of the Wildcats in 2004, there were roughly 35 players in the program. Three years later, there were 110, despite the school burning down in November 2006.

While Orange gets the vast majority of players from the northern end of the county, Cedar Ridge has been left to compete with Carrboro, Chapel Hill and East Chapel Hill for the students in the western and southern end.

Cedar Ridge has scheduled a town hall meeting on Monday night at 6:30 inside the school gymnasium.

 

 

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