Logan, Palco to play football, boys' basketball together
By CONOR NICHOLL
After several months of negotiations and meetings, Palco and Logan high schools have decided to form a cooperative agreement for football and boys' basketball starting the fall of 2013. This is a two-year agreement, but Logan athletic director Paul Prewo expects it to be long-term.
Logan could have had both of the sports on their own next year, but Palco has low boy numbers.
However, the Trojans likely would need to co-op in the near future. Last year, Logan and Damar junior high -- part of Palco's school district -- formed a co-op in junior high football. Previously, Logan junior high had joined forces with Almena-Northern Valley.
Both schools will remain separate on the girls' side. Logan and Palco have been solid in girls' sports; Logan is expected to have approximately 20 for volleyball and girls' basketball, Palco in the 12 to 15 range.
"We are going to have a big senior class of boys this coming year, but after this the kids that will be juniors all the way down to eighth graders have joined for junior high football for as long as I can remember," Prewo said. "Our boy numbers drop after this year. While we don't need it this year, we are going to need it in the near future. We are the good neighbor right now, which I am really glad to see."
However, Palco-Logan would change from two Eight-Man Division II teams to one Eight-Man, Division I in the middle of a two-year football cycle. Palco-Logan would play a normal schedule, but would not be eligible for postseason this fall. Palco-Logan will continue to be eligible for boys' basketball.
"Hopefully, we help them out for as long as they need us," Prewo said.
Dustin Patee, formerly the Beloit-St. John's-Tipton assistant football coach, will coach the co-op after Logan recently hired him as a physical education teacher. Mike Delimont, the Logan assistant coach last year, will stay on as assistant coach.
"I am guessing Palco will have an assistant, also," Prewo said.
Logan recently had a meeting to discuss football. Twenty boys came and Prewo estimated 15 to 16 boys will play from Logan and eight from Palco.
Chris Drees, formerly the Palco boys' basketball coach, will be the basketball head coach. Prewo, formerly the Logan boys' basketball head coach, will be the assistant coach.
As well, Palco football and girls' basketball coach Justin Pierce recently took an assistant job in Eureka after leading the Rooster football program for four years. Logan football and girls' basketball coach Brandon Gehring recently took the Oberlin-Decatur Community girls' basketball job.
"Our low numbers I think in our school," Pierce said of his reasoning. "More pay and kind of getting back into 11-man football. Several things all kind of rolled into it. ... For some reason, we don't seem to have that many boys. Our school seems to be mainly girls."
Palco first started talking to Logan in January. In February, the Logan school board voted to look at a cooperative agreement. Logan first turned Palco away. Then Palco went to Natoma, but the Tigers, members of the Northern Plains League, declined Palco earlier this month. Palco, which is expected to have just six boys combined in sixth, seventh and eighth grades, solidified the co-op with board meetings last week.
"The big negative thing I think with what Natoma found, is you are crossing two leagues, league events, I know league basketball," Prewo said. "All-league players if your kids don't play in that league. (Palco) has always wanted to do it with Logan. The road between here (and Palco) isn't the best, but once competition gets over, they are friends on the sidelines."