With dwindling numbers and faced with the choice of either forfeits, or downgrading to 6-man, the football programs at Sundance and Upton have decided to join forces for this upcoming season.

WHSAA Commissioner Ron Laird says that both teams were probably only going to have 12-13 players each, which can result in a lot of playing time, but it doesn't leave much depth on the team, especially if someone gets injured.

The team will be called the U.S. Patriots (U.S. standing for Upton/Sundance) and will play Upton's schedule and will split home games at Upton and Sundance.

Any team that was scheduled to play Sundance this season, now has an open week on their schedule.

They are welcome to find a replacement opponent, which can either come from out of state or the JV team of a school in a bigger class...or just take that week off.

Why at Upton and not at Sundance? Sundance is a 2A school in all other sports.

Laird says both schools are hopeful to remain in the 1A ranks for football.

The WHSAA now has to look at the enrollment numbers.

They'll take the total enrollment for Upton and add on the male enrollment of Sundance.

If this process was done in reverse, the total enrollment would make this team a 2A squad competing in 1A.

There is the possibility that the Upton enrollment combined with Sundance's male enrollment, would make this team a 2A squad as well.

If it turns out that this combined team has the numbers to be a 2A squad, then they'll play in 1A for this season, but be ineligible for the playoffs, according to WHSAA rules.

The WHSAA board of directors will discuss the issue on what class Sundance/Upton will play in after this season, in a future meeting.

Why won't Sundance have to forfeit their season like Tongue River and Hulett did in the past few years?

Timing is everything.

Opponents on Sundance's schedule have 2 months to find replacement opponents or take a bye week, whereas with Tongue River and Hulett in the past, the announcement of the schools not fielding a team, came about 1-2 weeks before the season started, hence there was not enough time for other teams to find another opponent.