Two-State Co-op

May 14, 2018

Mullan High School in Idaho and St. Regis High School in Montana are combining their football programs in order to ensure they have enough players to field a team.

According to The Spokesman-Review, the two schools, 40 miles and a time zone apart, have had difficulty fielding entire teams. Two years ago, Mullen had to forfeit its season due to not having enough players, while St. Regis forfeited three games in 2017 after injuries sidelined players. Jessie Allan, St. Regis' football coach, approached Stetson Spooner, Mullan's Athletic Director and football coach, with the proposal to merge after realizing that St. Regis would not be able to field a team this year.

“I thought ‘How would this even work? Getting players over the the state line, no way,’ ” Spooner said. “Then the more we talked about it, it became more and more feasible.”

Because of the hour time zone difference, St. Regis will be able to leave school at 3 p.m. Mountain Time, and arrive at Mullan by 3 p.m. Pacific Time, in time for practice.

Allan said that some St. Regis fans were unhappy about the merger, but described it as “the only option (they) have right now,” at least until participation numbers improve.

“It’s unfortunate that we weren’t able to make something here in Montana,” Allan said. “It sucks to bite the bullet and not have a program of our own, but at the end of the day, it’s about the kids playing football.”

Spooner said the larger team gives him more flexibility when it comes to making decisions.

“I’ve never had more than 12 players on my team since I’ve been here,” Spooner said. “It will be nice to have depth and actually be able to bench players if they’re late or skip practice.”

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