When most people think about high school football they think about Friday Night Lights.

They imagine the whole town in the stands, the school spirit and the varsity team playing for the pride of the school and their dads and granddads before them.

That’s what people think about when they think of high school football. Unfortunately, though, for many small schools in many small towns that’s far from reality.

Football is a sport that’s on the decline much in thanks to concussions, CTE and the many lasting and impactful injuries kids — not just professionals — can suffer in the course of a simple practice, not just a game.

Throw in declining enrollment in some schools and you’ve got yourself a full-fledged football crisis, which is exactly what happened for one high school in Healdsburg, California.

Jacob Bogage of The Washington Post reports that the Healdsburg High Greyhounds have had to cancel their season after losing their first two games by a combined total of 102-0.


That’s the reality of a team that saw only 18 players come out of the varsity team to start the season. Remember there are 11 on the field at all time, which means most of those players were playing both-ways and on special teams. That’s a dream for some players but when you’re getting crushed to the tune of 41-0 followed by a 61-0 drubbing, it can be extremely demoralizing.

So much so, per Bogage, that five players quit the team over the weekend after the 61-0 loss. Another player quit on Monday and that led to a team meeting, which led led to two votes — one open and one anonymous.

The anonymous vote 7-4, which effectively canceled the rest of the football season.

Principle Bill Halliday was apparently blindsided, per the report:

“For one reason or another, we had low numbers to start, and when you only have 18 and a couple of the boys start to do other things, you start to get concerned,” he said.

“I didn’t see the writing on the wall. I’m an educator. I’ve been doing this a long time. We have a tendency to be optimistic.”

Hope springs eternal in the fall, with the prospects of a new football season in the air.

That hope has died for the Healdsburg High Greyhounds.