This afternoon, when Scott Keller blows the whistle at 2 p.m. to start
two-a-day practices out in front of Westfall High School, the Mustangs
head football coach isn’t sure how many faces will be staring back at
him. Yesterday – Tuesday – there were 75 in uniform. Today there could
be nearly 90. South-Western City Schools voters are to thank.
This afternoon, when Scott Keller blows the whistle at 2 p.m. to start two-a-day practices out in front of Westfall High School, the Mustangs head football coach isn’t sure how many faces will be staring back at him. Yesterday – Tuesday – there were 75 in uniform. Today there could be nearly 90.
Tuesday, voters in the South-Western City Schools district outside of Columbus rejected a levy request (by just 564 votes) for a four-year, 8.3-mill property tax for the second straight time. As a result, the district’s four high schools (Grove City, Central Crossing, Westland and Franklin Heights) and their accompanying middle schools will not have sports this school year.
The effects will ripple well outside of Central Ohio.
Westfall enters this season with a Scioto Valley Conference record 26-game win streak. The Mustangs have won the SVC’s Golden Football three times in a row and have been to the Division IV playoffs six straight seasons. In 2007, Westfall made the state semifinals.
This year, despite the fact that the Mustangs returned 12 starters, there was some talk as to whether or not Westfall could extend its win streak and claim a fourth SVC title. There’s always doubt. Right?
South-Western City voters removed that Tuesday.
Thanks to the district’s failure to pass its levy, several other districts around the state will be impacted.
Westfall is just one example.
The Mustangs will have at least six players from South-Western City Schools on their team this year (five from Grove City and one from Central Crossing), including former Central Crossing and Grove City starting quarterback Vinnie Williamson. Potentially there could be 10 or more others – now that the levy has in fact failed.
Although Westfall was going to be good, now it has the chance to be great.
An influx of Division I players into a Division IV and V conference makes the Mustangs heavy favorites. Instead of playing against the likes of Lancaster, Newark, Pickerington Central, Reynoldsburg and Gahanna-Lincoln, the “new” players will be facing Richmond Dale Southeastern, Chillicothe Huntington, Zane Trace and Chillicothe Unioto. No offense, but you get the picture.
The addition of the former South-Western City players also makes the Mustangs a legitimate threat for the Region 15 title.
Believe it or not, there are some setbacks to this for Westfall as well.
The Mustangs don’t have enough equipment.
Orders for more shoulder pads, helmets and jerseys will be forthcoming.
The Mustangs also don’t have enough whistleblowers.
Last year’s Grove City staff had over 10 coaches.
Westfall has four – total – for varsity and reserve, including Keller. He hopes to get a fifth.
Similar scenarios like this will play out at London, Teays Valley, Grove City Christian and even districts as far away as Washington Court House. And it will happen in all fall sports – not just football.
Often times it’s overlooked what one district’s actions means to others. This is a not-so subtle reminder.
Westfall’s SVC scores this fall will be another.