Turn To Tara: Merging Yonkers football teams

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Students athletes will have a tense week as the Section 1 leadership committee is scheduled to meet Tuesday to decide whether or not to approve a citywide merger for all of Yonkers football teams.

With many details still unclear, a concerned group of players families and coaches Turned to Tara to find out how the likely it is that the plan will be approved and how it will impact them.

As News 12 previously reported, the merger plan has been in the works for the Yonkers High School football teams. The plan would do away with the individual football teams at the city's eight high schools and instead create two citywide programs, each with its own junior varsity and varsity programs.

The teams would compete in class Double A, not the Hudson River League, something Superintendent Dr. Edwin Quezada sees as a huge advantage.

“A lot of our scholar athletes are not seen by many coaches out there and can’t be recruited for Division 1 schools,” he says.

Quezada says safety and not financial considerations were the driving motivator of the plan.

Some say they are concerned about the larger pool of athletes trying out for fewer teams in a much more competitive league.

Player Joseph Legato says he’s not only worried for his safety, but whether he’ll get to play.

“I don’t want a 300-pound guy falling on me,” he says. “I was a guy who was projected to be a senior starter this year with Saunders and now with the merge team, I could be somebody who says 'Guess what, you are playing left bench."

News 12 has also learned that up to eight coaches could lose their jobs.

Coach Brett Vargas says he’s in limbo. Vargas thinks that a better plan would be to create a citywide junior varsity program and the let current juniors and seniors finish out with their home school teams.

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