East Hampton High School will not field a varsity football team this fall due to a lack of participation, the school said Monday.
"There just aren't enough kids," coach Steve Redlus said.
Redlus said East Hampton does plan to field a junior varsity team in 2014, though.
The Bonackers will have only 18 players from last season's team returning for the 2014-15 school year. Seven of them will be seniors and will not be allowed to play for the school's junior varsity team, according to Section XI's general rules and regulations for football.
A team needs at least 16 players "who are physically fit, eligible and prepared for each game," according to the rules for 11-man football teams adhered to by the New York State Public High School Athletic Association.
"It's a shame that the seniors won't be able to enjoy their senior season as football players," Redlus said.
Redlus is encouraged about the future of the varsity team because 19 eighth-graders from the middle school's team will be freshmen next September and have signed up to play football. "We will try to build the numbers up and build the program," he said.
East Hampton was 3-6 last season and lost to Babylon in the first round of the Suffolk Division IV playoffs. The Bonackers were slated to play in Division III this season after spending the last two years in Division IV.
East Hampton is one of Suffolk's oldest high school football programs, fielding its first team in 1923. They have continuously fielded teams except for 1942 and 1943 due to student enrollment drop-off during World War II.