Football Team Tackles Player Shortage


Olivia Prince

Senior Anthony Miceli and seventh grader Lucas Cordova rest on the sideline during the game against Taylor High School on September 2. Cordova is one of the six middle schoolers on the team.

David Hull, Sports Editor

   The number of students playing tackle football throughout the country has been on a steady decline, especially in private schools. Over the last three years, Central Florida schools, including Trinity, have experienced a notable decrease in numbers. Despite the decreasing team size, Trinity’s football team has attracted younger students to play. 

   Trinity faced off against Seven Rivers and Taylor High School in its first two games this season. Despite having over 40 players just a few years ago, both teams are now experiencing a significant decrease in numbers. When playing against Trinity, both rosters had under 22 players. 

   According to Forbes, this issue isn’t only affecting the Central Florida area but schools throughout the nation. High school football participation went down 12 percent from 2010 to 2018 and is still declining. 

   “This is not a Trinity Prep problem,” Langdon said. “This is happening to a lot of teams we play and you’ve got other schools that have been predominantly very good in the past and they’re still good but their numbers are down.”

   According to Langdon, the team has its youngest roster in over a decade, with a third of the roster being made up of underclassmen. Senior and captain of the team, Jordan Acker said he’s optimistic about the prospects of a young team.

   “As a senior it was kind of tough having a young team like this,” Acker said. “A lot more kids are starting to realize that football isn’t as dangerous as you really think it is and that is actually a lot of fun.”

   In previous years, the team has been heavily reliant on seniors to start and play significant minutes, averaging about 10-15 senior players. This year, the senior and junior classes combine for only nine players. Langdon is impressed with the younger players’ performance, but thinks that it is unfair to match them up with much more experienced players. 

   “We regularly have a bunch of seniors and juniors,” Langdon said. “We’ve got these young kids, but we’re not gonna put them up against older kids from other schools.”

   According to Langdon, the six middle schoolers on the team are too small to play many minutes, so the ninth and tenth grade classes have had to take on a significant role, typically playing for the majority of their games. 

   Freshman Ishan Choksey is a starting wide receiver and cornerback. Despite his size disadvantage, he appreciates getting so much experience during his first year.

   “It’s scary but it’s also fun because I like the contact,” Choksey said. “I’m going up against seniors from other schools. I’m still young and it shows I have a long way to go on varsity.”

   During the season, there are plans to assemble a Junior High team consisting of 7th, 8th, and 9th graders. Langdon believes that the addition of a Junior High team would allow the younger players to succeed.

   “We’ve worked hard on getting [the Junior High team] so the kids can play age appropriate opponents,” Langdon said. “The kids want to play so we’re just going to try to make it as safe and great of an experience as we can.”

   Over half of the varsity team are ninth grade or younger, so the majority of them would have to play on both teams. Play time would be limited due to the six quarter rule, stating that an athlete on both Junior High and Varisty can only play six of the eight quarters between the two games. 

   Despite the challenges the team will likely face this season, Langdon said their young team should lead to success in the future.

   “We have a lot of potential in our 7th, 8th, and 9th graders,” Langdon said. “We just have to keep fighting and get through the season, let the kids get better for upcoming years.”