Bennett High School may have won the Section VI Class A high school championship, but will not have a chance to repeat next season. The school will not have a varsity football team - a casualty of reorganizing the school.
There are really two Bennett's right now: the old high school, which is being closed as an academic failure, and the new school, being started up as a computer and high-tech training institution. That means next season, there will be only freshman and sophomores.
That will be enough to staff a junior varsity team. That is the plan submitted by the school district to Section VI, which runs high school sports in Western New York.
There also will be continuing efforts to allow students to shift among schools for sports, like one Olmsted student who was on the section-winning team.
"They will continue to play together," said Chief of Strategic Alignment and Innovation David Mauricio. "We have created a document of grouping that will be submitted to Section VI, if it hasn't already, and it continues the groupings that existed this year, but will also add a few more schools to that program. That's going to allow us to go from six teams to five teams."
The football teams would also get an additional coach if the plan goes through. Brandon Barksdale, who attends Olmsted and played for Bennett, pleaded with the school board to continue the winning Bennett program.
Leona Harper, who had allowed her son Brandon to play, also appeared at the school board meeting to protest the change. Harper praised the friendships she saw her son develop and the work of Coach Steve McDuffie.
"You couldn't ask for a better guy," she said. "This was the third year that they went to the Ralph. How awesome is that? It was amazing and, from my understanding, I believe that they are maybe going to take away our team and make it a JV team, when they won Section VI Class A. Unbelievable!"