Source: The Chicago Tribune
Participation in high school football reached its height at 1.11 million players in 2008 but by 2017 the rate had declined nearly 5 percent to 1.06 million, according to annual surveys by the National Federation of State High School Associations.
In Illinois, participation has declined from 51,373 players in 2007 to 42,682 players in 2016, according to the Illinois High School Association.
What does Rob Pomazak do to keep numbers up?
The St. Charles North coach includes arm-wrestling competitions, games of “blind dodge ball” and contests involving pool noodles. There’s the Xbox lounge. Platoons — groups of seven players — take turns picking music playlists for the week.
He created a signing-day event for incoming freshmen. Sophomores this year practice with the varsity team to build team cohesion. A parents group provides “a peanut butter and jelly bar” before each practice.
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