Today was the deadline for Park View High School football players to decide whether they will transfer to nearby Dominion High School or forgo playing football this season.
Several Park View players plan to transfer, reluctantly, so that they can play football at Dominion, according to a Park View parent and student. The student athletes were faced with that tough choice when they were told Wednesday evening that Park View would not have a varsity football team this season—a first in the school’s 42-year history.
Park View had 18 varsity-level players report for the opening of practice this month—half of them had never played football, according to a statement from the school system’s Public Information Office. The Virginia High School League—the sanctioning organization for athletic competition in public high schools—recommends that schools not try to field a varsity football team with fewer than 25 players.
Tony Lampe, a junior at Park View and the varsity quarterback, was one of at least three Park View students who showed up at Dominion Titans’ football practice today. A recruiter had told him he’d better go through with the transfer and play for Dominion if he wants to keep his prospects open for college scholarships. Lampe is a nationally ranked kicker, according to his father Anthony Lampe.
Lampe said the school system’s administration and athletic director were very sympathetic and professional as they delivered the disappointing news to Park View students who wanted to play football this season.
His frustration—and that of his son’s—is the VHSL rule that allows only students who are enrolled at a Virginia high school to play on that school’s athletic teams. Lampe acknowledged that that would generally be a fine rule, but this is a unique situation.
“Leaving Park View is a very, very big deal,” he said.
Not only will his son be missing out on his senior year with the friends and teachers that he’s known for years, but he will also forgo the opportunity to play on the Park View soccer team this spring. Park View is known for fielding talented soccer players, and Tony is among them, his father said.
Any Park View students who enroll at Dominion to play football and later opt to transfer back to Park View would not be allowed to participate in any VHSL activity for one year, including some afterschool clubs and athletics.
Lampe is asking VHSL to make an exception.
“I can’t wrap my mind around it,” Lampe said. “He just wants to compete. That’s all he wants.”
Park View football program has produced players that have gone on to Big Ten colleges and the NFL. Among then, Allen Pinkett, a 1982 graduate, played for the Houston Oilers, and Jeff Lageman, a 1985 graduate, played 10 years for the New York Jets and Jacksonville Jaguars.
Over the past six seasons, the Patriots have compiled a 6-54 record, failing to win a single game in 2012, 2014 or 2017. However, Park View’s adversity on the football field is relatively new. The Patriots’ most recent playoff win came in 2010. Park View finished runner up in the VHSL AA Division 4 State championship game in 1999 and 2000 and won the VHSL AA Division State championship in 1988.
Many in the Park View community took to social media in the past couple of days reacting to the news that the school’s varsity football season had been canceled. The school’s official Twitter @Park_View_HS tweeted “No one can beat our Patriot Pride! … @pv_football let’s make a great choice and Patriot Pledge to support all PVHS students and activities this year.”
Owen Gotimer, with LoCoSports.info, contributed to this report.