Sacred Heart High School Closing Puts Nonnewaug Football Co-op in Jeopardy


Carolyn Montero

Nonnewaug’s football team competes against Pomperaug in 2019. The Chiefs were supposed to form a varsity co-op with Sacred Heart and Kaynor Tech, but Sacred Heart’s impending closing thrust those plans into jeopardy.

Travis Bambino, Sports Reporter

WOODBURY — Nonnewaug’s varsity football team may be in jeopardy after the announced closing of Sacred Heart High School, ending the football co-op between the two schools. 

Sacred Heart, located in Waterbury, announced on Feb. 12 that it is closing down after this school year due to a decline in enrollment. This decision will impact the Nonnewaug football program because the Chiefs were planning on participating in a football co-op with Sacred Heart. Nonnewaug needs the co-op because there are not enough Nonnewaug players to have a varsity team. 

The plan this past fall was to join the existing co-op between Sacred Heart and Kaynor Tech, but the season was canceled due to the pandemic.

“Since the co-op is over with Sacred Heart, it will be tough to find another school that will want to co-op with Nonnewaug,” said Ben Conti, a junior quarterback.

The co-op allows many possibilities for the Nonnewaug football team, but most importantly “it would be good to co-op so we have the chance to have a varsity season,” said Conti. 

During the pandemic it may be even harder to find another school willing to co-op athletic programs, considering no school wants to put its students at increased risk by exposing them to students from another school.  

“Hopefully Nonnewaug can find another partner for a co-op to continue the football program at Nonnewaug,” said NHS junior and football player Jason Mauro.

If the Chiefs find a co-op partner, building chemistry with the new co-op kids will take time.

“It will affect it greatly, as we will need to gain chemistry with kids from other schools pretty quickly to be able to succeed throughout the next years,” said Mauro. 

Senior Kellen Herman was very disappointed to hear about the closing of Sacred Heart. He has played for Nonnewaug his whole high school career, and he has gotten many opportunities from this program. He doesn’t want to see the team end like this. 

“I was kind of disappointed for the underclassman guys I met from [Sacred Heart],” Herman said. “They’d have to find a whole new school to go to and it’s not exactly easy. For football, I was more concerned about Nonnewaug’s future. I’m not sure if our program has a future without the co-op.” 

At the March 15 Region 14 Board of Education meeting, acting superintendent Wayne McAllister noted there may be other options to keep the co-op alive, such as having Nonnewaug host the football co-op or working with other schools, such as Torrington’s Wolcott Tech and Waterbury’s Kaynor Tech.

Nonnewaug athletic director Declan Curtin said he still has to talk to the board sub-committee to discuss the athletic department’s budget, and it will take a few more weeks and meetings to come to a conclusion on Nonnewaug’s football co-op.