Football Program for 2023-24

To The Cuba-Rushford Community:

  • Being a firm believer in our motto,  “Every Student Every Day,” Cuba-Rushford had the opportunity to merge football programs with Portville to ensure that 11-man football continues on three levels for the considerable future. I find that news both reassuring and exciting for our student athletes. Cuba-Rushford has struggled over the last four years to maintain the numbers needed to compete at the varsity level in Section V. New York State requires 16 eligible players to have a contest. As our numbers have decreased, we have relied more and more on 9th and 10th graders to have considerable playing time. Although that has prevented us from ever forfeiting a game, it does but our players at risk for injury in an already physical sport. I know we have a lot of logistics to work through, but this model ensures the program's sustainability, allowing our future generation of athletes the opportunity to one day represent CR at the varsity level.

  • Cuba-Rushford began absorbing athletes from schools without football programs, such as Hinsdale and Genesee nearly 10 years ago. Even with these partnerships, we did not maintain the numbers to continue a program sustainable through the future. Because of this, there is not only a benefit, but a need to merge with another football school. We engaged in many conversations with other Section V football programs, but they were reluctant to commit to the partnership and bussing continued to be an obstacle. When Portville approached us about a possible merger, we were restricted to a timetable set by Section VI. Missing that timeline would have resulted in a missed opportunity, now and in the future. Logistically, schools who merge programs must consider the student enrollment of both schools to determine classification and competition. Through this merger, we will compete as a Class C school. We have been working for over a year to secure a partnership that honors the rich history of Cuba-Rushford football. Merging Cuba-Rushford and Portville football programs ensures that athletes continue to have the opportunity to play football within reasonable distances.

  • As we continue to work out practice schedules and locations, Cuba-Rushford will provide a bus to Portville for all summer workouts and practices. During the school year, no instructional time will be lost. A return bus will be provided, running on a very similar schedule to the traditional 5:30 bus. We will not require parents to commute to Portville for practices or games and are committed to making a smooth transition for our community. 

  • We will continue to employ all of our Cuba-Rushford coaches, one of whom will act as a liaison to ensure that Cuba-Rushford players have equitable opportunities in regard to positions and playing times. Location for all JV and modified home games will be evenly split between Portville and CR when possible, but please keep in mind other factors, such as field conditions and the Section VI schedule will play a part in determining locations. One varsity home game will be hosted at CRCS during the 23-24 school year, and we will consider adding more games in the future as our capital project comes to an end. 

  • In the past we have merged other sports, such as soccer, wrestling, bowling, track and field, and swimming to provide greater opportunities for our students, We only consider merging a sport if that Cuba-Rushford program is in danger of sustainability or safety risks. With the support of both cheerleading coaches, we are finalizing the merger CR and Portville fall football cheerleading programs. Please note, the cheerleading merger is specific to the fall football season only.

  • To maintain the current budget, we will be wearing Portville's current uniforms and mascot. We will not let a name be a roadblock for what is best for our students. We will revisit the team name of Portville Cuba-Rushford Panthers during the next purchasing rotation of uniforms.  Our athletes will be recognized as Cuba-Rushford players, but will play under the Panthers banner.

  • We are looking forward to a program that provides sustainability and a safer environment for our students playing at the correct level. Our hope is that this merger will allow us to be more competitive in our league and within New York State. We appreciate your patience and hope you will support the success of the new Portville Cuba Rushford merger! 

February 8th, 2023

Dear Parents and Community Members,

We are excited to announce that the Cuba-Rushford Football Teams will be merging with Portville Central School Football Teams as the Portville-Cuba-Rushford Panthers for the 2023-2024 season.  We understand this happened quickly, but both districts felt this was in the best interest of both football programs.  In keeping students first, the merger will afford more opportunities, adding junior varsity (JV) football and prioritizing safety by allowing students to compete within their age bracket. As numbers have decreased for football, discussions in open session at Board of Education meetings have been taking place over the last year. There are details that still need to be worked out, but we are excited about our new partnership with Portville. More information will be released as details become concrete. Any input, concerns and questions should be addressed to Carlos Gildemeister.  The district will create and maintain a Q & A page under ‘Athletics’ tab on our website.

Carlos Gildemeister

Superintendent of Schools

Question and Answers

When will homecoming be?

Homecoming for Cuba Rushford will be September 15th.

What is a merger and why?

It is where two independent programs that do function independently combine to form a single team.  In particular to football:

- It prioritizes safety by allowing students to compete within their age bracket.

- it will afford more opportunities, adding junior varsity (JV) football.

- by allowing a bigger pool for football, it will not take away numbers from our soccer program.

Will any games be played at Cuba-Rushford?

Cuba-Rushford will continue to host a senior night and homecoming on the same date.

Will the merger increase Cuba-Rushford Central Schools' cost?

We anticipate the cost of the program remaining neutral.  Helmets are reconditioned annually for safety. The reconditioning includes padding and painting the helmets.  The additional cost in busing will be offset by shorter distances to games, official costs, and monitor costs decrease.

Will High School Students miss instructional time and will practice begin later?

Cuba-Rushford has been in a year-long process to add an activity period at the end of the day.  We have successfully utilized this activity period consistently throughout the current school year.  Practice will be at the same time and students will not miss instructional time.

What will the coaching breakdown be at every level?

Cuba-Rushford will continue to maintain all coaching positions, but titles have not been established.

Where will all three levels of practices be held?

Varsity will be held at Portville Central School.  All other levels have not been decided.

Are Portville and Cuba-Rushford merging cheerleading?

Discussions have begun and at this time no decisions have been made.