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Friday, May 25, 2018

Oklahoma High School with only 10 Students Per Class Starts Football Team, Saves the School

Gracemont High (Okla.) has been around, if you’ll believe it, for a century. Yes, 100 years of education, which means the school predates the World War I. Heck, Gracemont is older than the NFL, which got its start as the American Professional Football Association in 1920.

Even with all that history, Gracemont had never fielded a football team. The reason is obvious: The entire town of Gracemont has a population of 336. Being so small was one of the main causes of the school’s myriad problems, including dwindling attendance and a lack of funds. The latter could be remedied by the former. If the school could get more students, federal funds would come its way.

The problems gave Jeremy Scott, a football coach who led Gainesville High to a state championship in Texas in 2003, an idea. According to Sports Illustrated, when things got really bad for Gracemont in 2010, Scott made a fateful suggestion.

“Let’s bring football to Gracemont High,” said Scott.

Scott’s idea sounds ridiculous when you consider that Gracemont has around 10 students per grade level and roughly 40 in the entire school. Nevertheless, school administrator Roberta Fullbright took the idea and ran with it last year — the school’s first playing football.

Flash forward past hundreds of letters asking for help; past generous donations from equipment suppliers, local Indian tribes, and nearby schools; past the dogged efforts of Scott, Fullbright, and pretty much everyone at Gracemont; past Scott’s having to teach football to a bunch of kids from square one, and you get football.

On Sept. 8th, the tiny school played its first home game of the season with a big attendance. Gracemont lost 48-0 and is 0-13 over the past two years (they’ve been outscored 693-94 over two seasons). Pretty impressive given that these kids are playing football for the first time. What’s even more impressive is that all the ticket sales, for the time being, helped keep Gracemont financially afloat.

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