CUBA, Ill. (WMBD/WYZZ) — Their record aside, the L-V-C Miners are enjoying this football season.
Lewistown, Spoon River Valley and Cuba High Schools have combined forces to field a team this year. Out of necessity.
“Last year, we had to forfeit games in Lewistown,” said Lewistown. “It wasn’t fun to give up games like that because of numbers.”
Lewistown started last season with about two dozen players and limped through the season due to injuries.
Cuba and Valley were part of the North Fulton 8-man football program but only had 12 players out for football last fall. So North Fulton didn’t have a varsity season, it only played a junior varsity schedule.
This year 42 players from Lewistown, Cuba and Valley have formed thew first LVC team.
“I didn’t think it’d (work) from three schools but we have a lot of numbers this year,” said senior Caden Shawgo. “Last year we had 12 (players) but over 40 this year. We’re happy for that.”
In order for this co-op to work, these proud Fulton County communities have set aside their longstanding rivalries to work together to form a team playing 11-man football.
“When we were little we were rivals with them,” said senior Blayne Clary of Lewistown. “Now we’re together, it’s kind of weird to think my last year (playing) I’d be with them, instead of against them.”
The Miners have started the season 0-5 but it hasn’t dampened the enthusiasm of this first-year team.
“We’ve really banned together,” said junior Tanner Brooks of Cuba. “I feel like it’s allowed the communities to get closer and it’s allowing everyone to be a part of something great.”
No one really knows what the future of the LVC co-op is but the team hopes this is just the start of keeping high school football alive and well in theses football-crazy communities.
“North Fulton getting back to 11-man (football) has people are excited about that. Lewistown people are excited we have numbers again,” said head coach David Roddis, a Lewistown native. “I just want to set a good base for these guys. So we’ve got something to build on.”