Football co-op schools pick ‘Central Clarion Wildcats’

Clarion Area School Board’s Jan. 7 work session saw district superintendent Joe Carrico confirm the tentative new identity of the co-operative football program between Clarion Area, Clarion-Limestone and North Clarion as the “Central Clarion Wildcats” starting next season.

Students from the three participating schools were previously asked to send in team name and mascot ideas. Officials of the three districts’ whittled down those submissions to a few choices during a Dec. 10, 2019, athletic committee meeting at Clarion Area high school.

Those choices were included in surveys available for students to complete on the respective districts’ websites. The final tallies for the winning name were totaled between Christmas and the New Year.

“It was pretty definitive that we are going to be the Central Clarion Wildcats,” Carrico told the board at the work session. “Everybody is very aware that the Wildcat name is driven by a military theme.”

The new name is based on the 105th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry Regiment, which served in the Union Army during the American Civil War.

The assembly of soldiers was nicknamed the “Wildcat Regiment” in recognition of the unit’s large membership from the Wildcat Congressional District in Jefferson County.

A series of books written in 1869 by Civil War historian Samuel P. Bates indicate a large contingent of men from Clarion County also staffed the regiment.

Navy blue and orange were approved as the new team colors for the football program and announced during Clarion Area’s Sept. 10, 2019, board meeting.

A graphic artist will begin to work on potential logo designs in the near future.

It’s not finalized yet

Carrico said the continuance of the program and thus worthiness in spending money toward a rebrand essentially rests on what came out of C-L’s Jan. 15 school board meeting.

(The outcome of that meeting came too late to be included in this report.)

C-L’s most recent meeting in December saw some board members asking for more public input on whether the district should continue as part of the co-op program. A survey available to the community was conducted, of which the results will be expounded on at the C-L session, according to Carrico.

Carrico added he had met with C-L superintendent Amy Glasl Jan. 6 to go over several co-op related items of discussion.

“The numbers were pretty solid and consistent from the community and the kids that based on the survey, they want to go forward with the co-op and the new name and mascot,” said Carrico.

Carrico continued, “It might help to put some fears to rest. There were some concerns around how the community and the kids think about the process. They’ll be sharing a lot of their specific data next week at their meeting.”

Consequently, Carrico said the district would hold off on ordering new uniforms until C-L affirms its place in the co-op. The district has self-imposed a deadline of mid-February to order the uniforms.

Uniform bids provided by four companies were opened during the afternoon Jan. 7 at Clarion Area’s district office. Carrico said the board would be provided with details regarding the bids at Clarion Area’s Jan. 14 voting meeting.

Clarion Area board member Todd Bauer asked if C-L were to commit to moving forward, if they would be able to get out of the agreement within a year or two or if they would need to stay for the four full remaining years of the agreement.

Carrico explained since the co-op is an agreement rather than a binding contract, any one of the participating schools in theory could elect to move away from the program. He added he couldn’t envision a scenario where one district would choose to keep another from leaving.

“The issue moving forward for next football season is if either school would back away, you’re going to be stuck with a double A schedule which is the bigger schools and more than likely an independent schedule,” Carrico said.

Carrico concluded, saying he is optimistic the significant investments of time and energy within the agreement will be honored by furthering the co-op.

“Everything worked really fine this year so what we’re hoping as we move forward is that it continues to kind of cement itself and grow to be really successful,” he said. “I think the more success we see, the more comfortable people are going to be around the whole co-op process for football.”