With college football aspirations, one senior is choosing to transfer schools in order to get some snaps on the gridiron after not putting on the pads for almost a year and a half.
A tough decision for Ashland seniors ahead of spring football season
Announcer says "now, from the jim sigel automotive sports desk, newswatch 12 sports with cameron derby."
Earlier this week, newswatch 12 sports was the first to bring you the news that ashland high school would not be having a varsity football season this spring.
Ashland's athletic director karl kemper said the decision had to do with player safety and the small number of players ready to play this spring.
Newswatch 12 sports josh shelton has been following this story all week long... josh, with ashland set to only play a junior varisty schedule this spring, what happens to the seniors at ashland?
That's probably the toughest thing for the ashland athletic staff to deal with.
A j-v slate means seniors can't be apart of the team without special permissions.
So they are faced with a choice to either completely miss out on their final year on the football field or play their final year for a different team.
I spoke with one ashland senior who is choosing to transfer so he can get at least a semblance of a senior season.
But this was one of the toughest decisions he's ever had to make.
But for james la fond, the decision was made to better himself in preparation for college football.
Simply a business decision.
James la fond: "it's nothing personal at all, my heart will always be in ashland, but it's a business decision is what i've been telling everyone.
That i just need to strap on pads one more time before going to college."
It's that kind of maturity from a high school seniors we may not be expecting, but the global setting has forced upon them.
For the seniors who never actually got their senior send off from walter a.
Phillips field, head coach beau lehnerz hopes to find a way to honor them.
Beau lehnerz: "we've got some traditions that you do as a senior and we want those kids to have those opportunities... so again it just says so much about that group having to make a tough decision and having the mature, wise outlook on things."
La fond is a verbal commit to southern oregon university to play football.
He hasn't put on pads since november of 2019 so getting to play before heading to the next level was a must.
La fond: "that's why i've been looking to transfer schools to a 6a school in medford.
Right now it's looking to be south medford."
It's not set in stone just yet, but south medford may be la fond's new home for his senior season.
And while this spring will be few weeks of go panthers for la fond-- deep down he'll always be a grizzly with fond memories of game nights in ashland.
La fond says, "since fifth grade this has been my home.
I've had great experiences here, i've met people who will hopefully be at my wedding... rushing out the tunnel with my best friends, the crowd in the background, you've got the lights beaming down on ya.
Just going out there with your best friends having a good time is all i can think about."
According to coach lehnerz, james is one of two seniors looking to make the transfer to another school.
Other seniors opted to