Mohawk Trail football co-op receives MIAA approval

  • Members of the Mohawk football cooperative program with Turners Falls and Pioneer take part in practice last week in Buckland. The co-op is officially a go for 2019, with the MIAA approving the measure on Friday. Staff FILE Photo/PAUL FRANZ

Published: 9/6/2019 6:08:32 PM

It’s official.

Turners Falls High School athletic director Adam Graves confirmed that the Western Mass. contingent of the MIAA Executive Review Board approved a one-year football hardship co-op waiver for Mohawk Trail Regional High School, Turners Falls and Pioneer Valley Regional School on Friday. The schools will play under the Mohawk Trail banner with the Warriors serving as the host school.

“It’s awesome,” said Graves of the decision, which came two weeks after the schools had first announced they were seeking the waiver. “The kids have been great. They’ve been working their butts off the last couple weeks, not knowing the outcome and whether this was indeed going to happen or not. But it’s going to give our kids a chance to play now.”

Mohawk Trail head coach Doug McCloud got the news during practice on Friday and waited until the end to inform his team of the good news.

“Now we are one team,” McCloud said. “It was good to get it out of the way. Now we can focus on football and not worry about having a team.”

Turners Falls has nine players competing on the cooperative program, with the combined numbers sitting around 25. Pioneer does not have any student-athletes currently on the roster, but players from the Northfield school were eligible to compete on the co-op. With the added players, Mohawk Trail will have a deeper roster.

“Competition is there and that’s good,” McCloud said. “(Players) don’t have to play the whole game. It’s going to be a good year.”

Mohawk Trail athletic director Greg Vouros said the schools were pleased to be able to move forward with eyes now focused on the 2019 season.

“We're really excited,” Vouros said. “I want to thank Adam (Graves) at Turners. We are just excited to get going at this point.”

The Executive Review Board met at Belchertown High School on Friday. The board confirmed what was a unanimous vote in favor of the co-op during a meeting of athletic directors that Graves and Vouros attended on Wednesday at Northampton High School. In the Wednesday meeting, Graves and Vouros spoke before ADs and addressed concerns about the necessity for the waiver. The move needed the approval of each school in the Tri-County League, where Mohawk Trail plays.

“We explained that this isn’t what any of the programs want, but to maintain football for everyone this is the best option,” Graves said. “We had numbers for them, they had questions for us. But in the end it was a unanimous decision (on Wednesday).”

Friday’s approval brings to the end a two-week period of relative uncertainty. While delegates from each school felt confident that the cooperative team would go through, there was no guarantee that the MIAA would agree.

“We knew that when we started the process of pursing the co-op that we would have to wait to get an official word one way or another,” Vouros said. “That was part of the process. Everybody knew that was the case. There was nothing we could have done to speed up the process. But this was the day we were waiting for. Fortunately it worked out.”

The teams have been practicing together in Buckland, with eyes on the program’s season-opener on Sept. 13. Mohawk Trail will host Franklin Tech in an independent contest at 4 p.m. at Pollard Field.

“Everything’s been really smooth so far,” Graves said. “Everyone has been on board and the kids, the parents, have been excited about the possibility of this co-op.”

 

 




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