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Wednesday, June 10, 2015: Fort Edward won't field football team in 2015

   Leading off today: The BEDS number for Fort Edward creeps upward ever so slightly next school year, but it won't be enough to save varsity football team.

   The Flying Forts will not field a varsity team in 2015 because of low participation numbers in the upper classes, The Post-Star reported. Fort Edward's BEDS figure was 113 this school year and will be 117 in 2015-16.

   "We have about 30 kids signed up, but they're mostly freshmen and sophomores, and you can't expect them to go up against 16-, 17-, 18-year-olds week after week and expect them to compete or want to come back -- that's not good for the program as a whole," coach Kevin Stimpson told the paper. "It's sad, but it's best for the program."

   Fort Edward, which has played football since 1930, fielded a combined team with Argyle last season. During signups this spring, only three seniors -- one from Fort Edward, two from Argyle -- and four juniors expressed interest.

   "We've seen it coming; we didn't think it would hit us this hard," Stimpson said. "These two classes, the junior and senior classes, there's a small number of males -- we have all kinds of girls, just not a lot of boys. Our numbers of boys start picking up in the younger grades."

   The relatively early decision by Fort Edward will leave six Class D and one Class C opponent a little extra time to hunt down potential opponents to fill the regular-season openings.

   Draft update: Though 10 rounds of the Major League Baseball draft that began Monday, Niskayuna's Garrett Whitley -- taken No. 13 overall by the Tampa Bay Rays -- was the only New York high school senior selected.

   Lockport outfielder Nick Hamilton was taken by the Boston Red Sox in the 11th round and George Washington pitcher Wesley Rodriguez was selected in the 12th round by the Arizona Diamondbacks, and the Philadelphia Phillies took Hauppauge pitcher Nick Fanti in the 31st round. No other New York high school seniors were taken through the 35th round.

   Hamilton only took up the sport as a sophomore but is a switch-hitter with speed. Rodriguez threw consistently in the 93-95 mph range but is slightly undersized at 5-foot-10.

   All-star practice starts: Practice for the resurrected New York State Upstate vs. Downstate All-Star Football Game begins Thursday in Ithaca.

   The game will be played Sunday at Ithaca College.

   The New York State High School Football Coaches Association is the sponsor of the contest, which was discontinued after the third contest in 2012.

   For planning purposes: Entries for the NYSPHSAA track and field championships have been posted. The meet is Friday and Saturday at SUNY Albany.

   Hey, Lancaster, grow up: A brief ceremony Monday at the Lancaster school board meeting to recognize eighth-grader Korissa Gozdziak, who created the school district's new logo and mascot, went south in a hurry when pro-Redskins protesters made their dissatisfaction known yet again.

  

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  •    As many stood and applauded Gozdziak, pro-Redskins supporters stood and turned their backs, The Buffalo News reported. The girl's family quickly got her out of the auditorium, fearing worse was to come. And it did.

       The Redskins fanatics verbally assailed the school board members that approved the mascot change, with one man shouting "Heil Hitler!" at board President Kenneth Graber, who is Jewish.

       "We expected the worst and we talked with her and tried to prepare her that somebody may yell at you, or be negative or try to get you in an argument," Jennifer Gozdziak, Korissa's mother, told the paper. "We said, 'You just have to walk away.' We also brought the family like a little bubble for protection, if need be. We could surround her."

       Said Superintendent Michael J. Vallely: "I don't even know how to respond. I'm still grappling with what happened and trying to understand it."

       Graber said he fielded phone calls Tuesday from people rankled by the Hitler comment and the way Korissa and Gozdziak was treated by the Redskins supporters.

       "How small. It's disgusting," Graber said.

       Lou Bucci dies: Retired Newburgh Free Academy softball coach Lou Bucci is being remembered as a giant in the sport in Orange County following the news of his death this week.

       "Beyond being a tremendous coach and tactician, he was a great motivator," Minisink Valley counterpart Bruce Guyette told The Times Herald-Record. "He was a very thoughtful, warm, wonderful man, as generous as they come. He had a magnetic personality that drew the best out of people."

       Bucci was a Times Herald-Record softball coach of the year in the sport in 1993 and 1995.


      
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