The Deerfield School District is exploring adding a middle school tackle football team to its current sports offerings.

Athletic director Matt Polzin said that Deerfield has the option to join a group of 12-15 middle schools from the Trailways Conference in a tackle football league. He presented the idea to the School Board at a Jan. 6 Committee of the Whole meeting.

The School Board is now looking at forming a seventh-and-eighth-grade combined team, run by the district.

“We feel there is a need to have some opportunity for football at the (middle school) level for our kids,” Polzin wrote in his report.

Deerfield used to have a flag football team run through the schools, and a tackle football team run through the Deerfield Community Center. With both of those programs gone, Polzin said the district could use a new team.

“You’ve had a long stretch now of nothing here at school for football,” Polzin said.

Polzin attended a scheduling meeting for the middle school conference on Dec. 8, and said Deerfield has a spot in the league if the district wants it.

The team would be run directly by the Deerfield School District as an after-school sport, along with the current fall sports of boys cross country, girls volleyball and girls cross country.

The team would play eight or nine games between August and October.

Polzin said players would practice after school at the middle-high school and could potentially warm up with the high school team. The district could also approach current DHS football volunteers for potential coaches.

Polzin added that by building a football program for younger students would help the kids.

“Then they’re not just getting thrown to the wolves as freshman,” Polzin said.

School Board vice president Lisa Sigurslid said she’d heard of Deerfield students joining Cambridge’s middle school tackle football team, which practices on weekends. Sigurslid and board member Sandy Fischer wondered if adding a team in Deerfield would be more accessible for students.

Polzin said he met with leaders at the Deerfield Community Center Jan. 6, to discuss the possibility of using or purchasing gear used in the former Deerfield Dogs football program.

“The nice thing about if you run it through the school is obviously hopefully because then transportation is provided, practice is here after school, maybe kids that couldn’t do a Dogs program...would do it,“ Fischer said.

The next step, Polzin said, is gathering more specific cost information. Some of those costs might include officials fees, coaches fees, buses to away games and equipment costs.

“A lot of it wasn’t as much as I thought,” Polzin said.

“We felt that if we did this it would be best to go through the school. Yes, that’s an extra cost in the athletic budget but then we also have a tighter rein on our kids as far as trying to enforce the athletic code and grades and all those things,” he continued.

The School Board did not take any action on the idea but is awaiting more information from Polzin.

Girls Hockey Co-op

In other matters, the School Board is weighing whether to take on the administrative duties of an area high school girls hockey co-op, on a year-to-year rotation with other school districts. Deerfield co-ops with eight teams in the area, and has one student on the team that’s based in Stoughton. Polzin said duties involved in the coordination of the co-op would include scheduling ice time, transportation and other tasks.

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