A student reassignment plan drawn up by Nash-Rocky Mount Public Schools that has taken effect for the upcoming school year has not made a noticeable effect on the four Nash County public schools’ varsity football teams – at least not yet.
The plan, which was approved in November and amended since then, re-drew the district lines, which meant a change of schools for more than 2,100 students. The plan was approved in effort to save money – more than half-a-million dollars by Nash-Rocky Mount estimates – by targeting transportation issues within the school district.
Southern Nash, which had by far the greatest geographical district, saw its boundary lines shrink.
The eastern boundary was moved farther west, meaning students that live in Sharpsburg now will go to Nash Central, as will a larger portion of the students who attended Coopers Elementary.
Nash Central’s boundary line used to stretch from the eastern side of Nash County to the western edge, but that is no longer the case, and Northern Nash and Southern Nash now share a border.
The Bulldogs also used to receive kids who went to Red Oak Middle School, but now, all of those students will attend Northern Nash.
Rocky Mount High will receive all of the students who went to Parker Middle School, whereas the Gryphons and Knights both used to have former Parker students.
All four coaches of the high school football teams said it hasn’t made much of a difference, but that could change.
“I don’t know about the younger grades – that’s what’s going to be key to us,” Southern Nash coach Brian Foster said. “We know what we got right now, and we know what we lost or didn’t lose, but down the road, you never know. There could be 15, 20 guys that are going to be great players that were supposed to be (at Southern Nash) that we’ll never see.”
Southern Nash, which consistently has the biggest football program in the Twin Counties – the Firebirds have at least double the numbers of almost every other program this year – still has quite a healthy program.
There currently are 55 players listed on the Firebirds’ varsity roster, more than 70 on its JV team and still around 1,200 students at the school.
Foster said Southern Nash lost “four or five” players that normally would have been at the school, but the results have been negligible.
Nash Central is down more than 20 players from last year, but that was expected even before the district lines were changed.
Two straight large senior classes have graduated, and the Bulldogs saw only 32 players suit up Friday against Tarboro.
The Bulldogs would have been relying on underclassmen anyway, but losing kids who went to Red Oak Middle school – like Jalen Hendricks and Jarius and Jerod Richardson, the backbone of the Bulldogs’ 2011 playoffs team – could hurt the program long term.
“The Red Oak kids – we don’t have those kids (anymore), and we’ve always gotten some pretty good ball players from Red Oak,” Nash Central coach Kevin Crudup said. “Northern (Nash) got some very good ball players that would normally be here.
“Now, I’m not crying about what I got because we do have some very good freshmen.”
Crudup, like most coaches, will have to shift his focus to different youth leagues to know what he has coming into the program.
“We didn’t have the Sharpsburg kids, and we now have a couple from Sharpsburg,” Crudup said. “They haven’t brought a different dynamic, it’s just different thinking for us as far as where our kids are located at. We’re going to have to spend more time in that area, in the Sharpsburg, West Mount areas, talking to coaches.”
Rocky Mount’s numbers have held fairly steady and Northern Nash’s have improved slightly, but any changes haven’t been felt yet.
The former Red Oak students who would have gone to Nash Central haven’t made much of an impact at Northern Nash so far.
“It’s kind of had an effect,” Knights linebacker JaQuez Avent said. “It’s hard to say because they’re on JV.”
Similarly, Rocky Mount High coach Jason Battle said the reassignment plan hasn’t changed much about his day-to-day operations with the football team.
The shuffling in players hasn’t shown up yet, and the coaches said they will worry about it when the time comes.
Like any other issue, the coaches said they will make the most of what they have.
“We’re going to take who we got and do the best we can with them,” Foster said. “I imagine that’s what everybody else is going to do, too.”
Nick Piotrowicz can be reached at 407-9952 or npiotrowicz @rmtelegram.com