Football backers go on the offensive

A group of alumni, students and parents is looking to kick off a campaign to bring football back to Westmoor High School, which cut football in 1996 due, some say, to a lack of student interest. After football was canceled when his brother was a freshman at Westmoor, the city’s biggest high school, Famir Mogannam decided to attend Terra Nova High School in Pacifica. He lives just two blocks away from Westmoor.

“It’s a good program, but we don’t get a good welcome in Pacifica,” Mogannam said of playing at Terra Nova.

Football was cut from Westmoor in 1996 because of waning student interest, according to Jefferson Union High School District Superintendent Mike Crilly, who worked as Westmoor’s principal in the early 1990s.

The school’s current principal, Dick Morosi, opposed restarting the program.

“It’s not going to happen as long as I’m principal,” he said. “We don’t have the kids who want to play — even during the years we had it, we had 20 to 25 people who turned out to play.”

Morosi cited two otherreasons the school should not offer football to its 1,850 students.

“It’s very difficult to find quality coaches who would be good role models for kids,” Morosi said. “And it’s a financial issue — football is almost prohibitively expensive. I’m certainly pro-sports, but I have to be practical about it. I have to look out for the financial end of matters because it’s important to the community.”

According to Morosi, bringing back football would cost the school $100,000 to start the program. The district’s four high schools receive the same budget for athletics and can decide which sports to offer, according to Crilly. He said that bringing back football would mean cutting back on other sports.

George Khoury, a Westmoor alum who coached baseball at the school for two years and now works as a track coach for South San Francisco High School, said he understood the budgetary constraints, especially given the recent state budget cuts, but said he has formed a booster club that would seek funds from the community to help reintroduce the sport.

However, Westmoor’s principal argued there was no need for football in his school because students interested in the sport can always go to Jefferson High School in Daly City or Terra Nova.

But at least one parent disagreed with sending kids away for sports. </p>

“I just don’t see any activity in that area for the kids,” said Millie Santiago, a mother of four who sent two of her kids to Terra Nova to play football. “I think football would involve the community.”

svasilyuk@examiner.com

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