The town of Cement is a quiet one in general, with just over 500 people who live their lives straddling the Grady-Caddo county line.
For the past few years, the sky overhead was a little brighter on autumn Friday nights, when eight-man varsity football drew the interest of student and locals. The blip Cement made on the Oklahoma sports radar became a little bigger as the boys took part in a state, and truly American, tradition.
For the next few years at the least, the gap filled by Cement football will exist once again.
"I think it costs a little bit," Athletic Director Michael Wynne said. "The future of senior football is up in the air as of now. That's a legitimate concern and thought for anyone; whether you're a Cement student wanting to play football, a parent and you want your kid to play football, or an opposing school in the same district."
A few weeks ago, Wynne, who was only appointed athletic director a few days before school began, and school administrators had to make the tough decision to suspend the football program indefinitely due to lack of players and interest. Just last week, the same people decided it would be at least two more years before the school could even think about reigniting Bulldogs football. For the players left, their parents, fans, and especially first year head coach Zack Josey, it was a hammer blow.
"Coach Josey came here thinking there was going to be a football program," Wynne said. "He knows what he's doing, but he didn't see this coming. I remember what it was like to get my first head coaching job, and I can't even begin to tell you how it would feel had I been hired to coach a certain sport and then that sport not make."
But every morning, instead of accepting that all is lost, Josey goes out with a group of middle school kids and goes through the drills and game situations.
"He's still coaching out there every day," Wynne said. "It'd be real easy for anyone to say 'I know we're not having football for the next few years, so I'll just go through the motions.' He's not doing that; not even close."
For the full feature article, check out the sports section of the Friday, Sept. 20, issue of the Express-Star