The Fort Vancouver High School football program will move from Washington Interscholastic Activities Association 3A league ranking to independent status beginning next school year. The move is supported by WIAA and the 3A league.
Independent status will allow the Fort football coaches to build their program by competing against similar-ranked opponents in the regional area. This re-classification provides several benefits for Fort’s football program and team members.
Health and safety of the players: Currently Fort Vancouver High School’s football program has fewer participants than most schools, therefore, Fort has only one sub-varsity team made up of mostly freshman with limited playing experience. Many of the 3A opponent teams are made up of sophomores and juniors who physically outmatch the younger, less experienced Fort players. In addition, because of our smaller team size, Fort’s team members often play the entire game, causing fatigue and making them susceptible to injury.
Competitive equity: The goal for Fort Vancouver’s football program is to provide a safe and competitive environment in which young players will develop not only as athletes, but also grow as teammates and learn valuable life lessons. As the program becomes more competitive, more players are likely to turn out and continue in the program throughout high school. Hudson’s Bay High School’s football program is one example of success using this strategy. The team moved classifications for two years and played selected non-league opponents. As Bay’s player numbers grew, the team returned to 3A where it has been competitive for the past three seasons.
The Fort football coaches expect to play independent status long enough to build a program that will draw new players, develop the skills of returning players and provide a rewarding competitive experience for all of its athletes. As stated in the WIAA core principles, participation in a safe and fair athletic program will help team members strengthen character, build confidence and maximize potential through sportsmanship, leadership and service.