Middle school football in Wichita floated, questions remain

Local

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Friday night lights could soon turn to Thursday night lights.

Middle school football could soon come to Wichita.

“But again nothing has been finalized and we are still putting the meat on this bone,” said USD 259 School Board President Stan Reeser.

Coaches have questions about the size of teams. There are 18 middle schools in USD 259.

“The plan has been to combine schools,” said Club Football coach Manuel Martinez. “And it’s broken down as there are 18 middle schools, but it’s looking to be X amount of middle school teams.”

Martinez coaches Worldwide Athletics Club Football, and he says middle school kids play in the club/city league right now. He says that will continue regardless of what Wichita schools will do.

However, Martinez adds that some players could ride the bench on Middle School teams if three or more middle schools combine to make large school teams.

“There’s going to be kids riding the bench regardless whether they’re in the middle school,” he said. “Or in the club/city league.”

Some middle school players on Worldwide Athletics like the concept of middle school football, but they also like the individual attention of club league in the city.

“Football has been a dream and a passion I’ve pursued,” said Markus, on Worldwide Athletics. “I see this right here as an advantage because it gives me the training and the visual to be able to play with older players.”

J. Means is the Athletic Director for USD 259 and says Wichita schools don’t have facilities at all the middle schools. Combining teams from different middle schools is part of the plan, but it’s a plan that’s not finalized. It’s also a plan that may be on hold until the next season.

“And a lot of the planning is going on right now and it’s a lot of discussions with our athletic directors, our middle school administrators, coaches,” said Reeser. “This board of education is extremely interested in looking at all issues including engagement of our middle school students. So it’s basically about engagement of our middle school students.”

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