Roy-Hart ends football merger with Barker

By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 17 November 2017 at 5:12 pm

Photo by Cheryl Wertman – This past season proved to be the seventh and last for the Roy-Hart/Barker football team as it was announced Thursday that the merger is being terminated. Here Roy-Hart/Barker running back Malik Smith picks up yardage during this past season’s game against Albion.

Seven years ago a decreasing number of players at both schools caused Roy-Hart and Barker to merge for football.

The merged team enjoyed great success at the outset capturing the Genesee Region League title in Section V in 2011. Not welcomed back by the G-R or Section V , the team played as an associate member in the Section VI Class B division in 2012 and since has been a regular member in the Class B competition.

However, over the last couple of years the number of players from Barker has decreased to the point where a combined total of only about a dozen competed on the varsity and JV teams this past season.

That decrease has led Roy-Hart to the decision to terminate the merger which must be renewed annually and approved by both school boards and Section VI.

The termination of the merger was announced Thursday by Dr. Roger Klatt who serves as superintendent of both districts.

“We just weren’t getting the kids from Barker,”  said Roy-Hart Athletic Director John Grzymala who notes that this past fall’s varsity and JV teams were composed of 45 Roy-Hart players and just 13 Barker players. That was down from the 42 Roy-Hart to 22 Barker ratio the year before.

Grzymala noted that by going alone Roy-Hart will drop into the Section VI Class C Division next fall where the opponents will include Akron, Wilson, JFK and Cleve Hill.

“I think we can sustain it. It will take some work but I think overall we can sustain it,” said Grzymala who noted that this past season the Roy-Hart/Barker team  had the lowest enrollment of the 18 Section VI Class B squads.

“Right now we are looking at our options,”  said Barker Athletic Director Dave Carson. “We have put a signup sheet out to see what students would be interested in playing football but on our own we probably really don’t have the ability to sustain our own football program. Our goal is to explore all options to give our students the opportunity to play if they want to.”

Barker had served as the lead school for the merger’s first six years for, as it was then called, the Barker/Roy-Hart football team.  However, this past year as Barker’s participation numbers dropped Roy-Hart took over as the lead school for what was the Roy-Hart/Barker football team this past fall.

Currently Roy-Hart and Barker are also merged for wrestling but with only one Barker wrestler on this season’s varsity team the future of that merged team is also uncertain.