A high school in Loudoun County, Virginia, that went without a varsity football team last school year is bringing the team back.
Park View High School head football coach Josh Wild made the call not to have a varsity team last year when not enough students showed interest.
“It was gut-wrenching. It was one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make,” he said Wednesday.
During the offseason, he held flag football games and other events to generate excitement about the game.
Actress Hilarie Burton, best known for hosting MTV’s “Total Request Live,” starring on the show “One Tree Hill” and a 2000 graduate of the Sterling high school, offered to pay for any student who wanted to attend football camp.
The result? More than 70 students came out to play football this season at the school.
The school will have a varsity team and a freshman team. Last year, Park View only had a junior-varsity team.
“I think the kids are excited,” said athletic director Jason Testerman. “I think they don’t realize how big that the community will be behind them come the first home game, but that’s the fun part about it.”
Practices and scrimmages are underway, and Wild said there is plenty of work to do.
“Some people, they haven’t been around the game. So it’s just teaching the game, and once they get to know it, ‘Oh hey, this is fun,'” he said.
Adding to the anticipation for the coming season are the new, sleek, red team uniforms. Previous years’ white helmets have also been replaced with something more eye-catching.
“You probably see some of the helmets on college game day that are actually chrome-looking (and) shiny. You put your face in it, and you can see it. They went for that,” Testerman said.
The varsity team’s first game is Sept. 6 at Falls Church High School. The first home game is Sept. 13 against Manassas Park.