Penn Yan, Dundee football, cheer programs are talking merger for fall

Gwen Chamberlain

Dundee and Penn Yan football teams and fall cheerleading spirit squads will be merging at all levels beginning this fall if the Penn Yan School Board agrees with a resolution passed Feb. 6 by the Dundee Board of Education.

Penn Yan Superintendent Howard Dennis says the merger will be included on one of the March Penn Yan Board of Education agendas.

Dundee Superintendent Kelly Houck explains that the partnership has been a student-athlete driven project, with representatives from coaching staff and athletic directors from both districts working together to develop a plan. 

“They (the students) are being really thoughtful, she said of the students involved. 

A presentation, which will include a tentative schedule, will be made to the Dundee Board of Education March 19. Decisions about uniforms will be made after that meeting, and coaching staff will be appointed in May or June. 

Houck said the schedule will alternate between the communities for home games and will accommodate Homecoming celebrations at both schools. She said all of the opponents on the tentative schedule are other combined teams. “It’s all about creating opportunities for kids,” she said.

In the fall of 2019, the modified and junior varsity teams merged, with modified practices and games based in Dundee and junior varsity based in Penn Yan. The modified team used Dundee uniforms and equipment and the junior varsity team used Penn Yan uniforms and equipment. Penn Yan maintained its varsity squad and Dundee fielded an 8-man football team.

Earlier in 2019, Penn Yan Varsity Football Coach Tim McBride said the merger would be best for the program in the long run, with athletes needing to compete for playing time, and playing at levels appropriate for their age and skills. 

Penn Yan did not field a junior varsity team in 2018 or 2017. A team was planned for the 2016 season, but folded.

Around the same time, the Dundee and Penn Yan Junior Football programs combined due to declining participation.