For the first time since 1965, St. Stephens will sponsor a high school football team.

The Eagles will play a six-game six-man schedule mostly against junior varsity teams in 2011, St. Stephens AD William Benn said in an email.

WHSAA Associate Commissioner Trevor Wilson said the association has allowed St. Stephens to play a junior varsity schedule, but said he wants to make sure the Eagles can establish a program on a consistent basis before including the school at the varsity level.

Once that happens, Wilson said, “We would love to have them.”

The Eagles are not eligible for the postseason this fall.

St. Stephens’ schedule this year includes:

Aug. 27 at Hanna (Zero Week)

Sept. 10 Kaycee JV

Sept. 15 Dubois JV

Sept. 20 at Farson JV

Sept. 27 Farson JV

Oct. 13 at Kaycee JV

Benn said the school is trying to schedule more games.

St. Stephens fielded football teams from 1957 to 1965 and were highly successful, compiling a record of 41-24 over those nine seasons, including a state runner-up finish in 1961 and a mythical Class B state championship in 1962.


9 Thoughts on “St. Stephens adds football for 2011

  1. curt on May 23, 2011 at 5:26 pm said:

    The make-up of a 6 man JV team can’t be a whole lot different than the varsity team, can it? I mean, aren’t there only like 9 or 10 total players anyways? I would be curious to see how numbers vary at different 6-man schools.

  2. Patrick on May 23, 2011 at 8:51 pm said:

    Curt, the issue isn’t numbers. The issue is that the WHSAA would have to rebuild its schedule again for six-man, with no guarantee (beyond their word) that St. Stephens could even field a complete team this fall. It’s easier to sort of ease them in than it is to revamp the schedule and then, if, for some reason, St. Stephens can’t field a team, it doesn’t lead to forfeits and messed-up schedules like you saw last year with Hulett at 11-man and with Fort Washakie two years ago at six-man.

    Unfortunately for St. Stephens, right now, they are still dealing with the fallout from that. Additionally, the school didn’t declare until this spring that it wanted to field a team for this coming fall. If they had set the groundwork last year, before the WHSAA went through reclassification and built the schedule, they may have been able to get in 2011 as a varsity year.


  3. Dahl Erickson on May 25, 2011 at 7:51 am said:

    Good on St. Stephens! I think every school should have football and I for one will be watching them and hope they have some measure of success this year.

  4. Patrick on May 25, 2011 at 11:11 am said:

    Agreed, Dahl. I really want to see this succeed. Another six-man school would really help bolster the ranks. Hopefully this year is a success and the Eagles can build from there.

    Also, St. Stephens has a new track/football facility near the school that will be ready to go for the fall. Even if the football experiment doesn’t work, having that facility will help the school and the community in the long run.


  5. Curt on May 26, 2011 at 6:18 pm said:

    I understand the reason for the JV schedule, but I’m just wondering how different Farson’s JV squad will look than their Saturday afternoon Varsity squad. Surely some players will have to play both games. Does that mean they’ll play three games in a week?

    But I hope St. Stephens gets a program to stick. I can only imagine the difficulty of creating schedules for these programs that don’t know their status from year to year.

  6. Patrick on May 26, 2011 at 10:54 pm said:

    What schools like Farson, Kaycee, etc., will do in playing their JVs against St. Stephens is nothing different than what small 11-man schools have done for a long time for JV games…. Three games in a week for some of those players who will be both JV and varsity is nothing unprecedented and extremely likely. The coaches of those teams knew that when they signed on for these games. I guess I don’t see how it’s an issue.


  7. R D Preuit on August 9, 2011 at 10:26 pm said:

    JV will not be differnt teams than the varsity in 6man. The whole point of 6man is that you do not have many6 different players to use. If St Stephens were allowed to play (like Kaycee), it would have been much easier for them to fill their schedule. There have been 11man 1A teams that forfeited their schedules without the schedules as well as 6s (Hulett) without any scrutiny. Analyze why.

  8. Patrick on August 9, 2011 at 11:24 pm said:


    A couple points. One, as a varsity program, St. Stephens would lose the ability to make its own schedule. The WHSAA does all varsity football scheduling. Two, I have no idea what you mean when you say “forfeited their schedules without the schedules,” but I think the point you are trying to make is that previously, varsity programs have had to forfeit season schedules due to a lack of participation. The difference between those forfeits and St. Stephens is that those other programs were already in existence, whereas St. Stephens is a startup program.

    After the startups in Rock River and Fort Washakie failed prior to the 2009 season, I think the WHSAA is being appropriately cautious with new programs.

    Additionally, to say that 11-man programs that forfeited seasons did not face scrutiny is laughable. The most recent 11-man programs to forfeit seasons were Hulett and Midwest. They both play six-man now. I would argue that such a drastic change to a program can only come after very heavy scrutiny — players, coaches, administrators and parents (and occasionally this blog) all involved.


  9. i think that the Eagles have an excellent chance to revive their football program. Additionally i think they will return to their former glory once enough players see that this will work.

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