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Oyster River students to play football in Portsmouth

Union Leader Correspondent

January 17. 2018 11:41PM
Oyster River High School students will be able to play football at Portsmouth High. (Kimberley Haas File photo)

DURHAM — Students at Oyster River High School will be able to play football at Portsmouth High School under a cooperative agreement approved by the school board Wednesday night.

The hope is to get the agreement approved by the New Hampshire Interscholastic Athletic Association so Oyster River students can participate in football next season.

During their meeting, members of the school board said the stories from students who love football and the support of parents helped them make the decision.

“It’s extremely compelling, and I really feel for them,” board member Daniel Klein said.

Chairman Thomas Newkirk said after listening to parents his thinking on the matter has changed.

“I think this is an advantage to our district to have this,” Newkirk said.

Board member Allan Howland proposed the board vote for a cooperative agreement with Portsmouth High School because Portsmouth has the same start and end times to the school day.

Howland also cited the decline in participation in the football program at Dover High School, which had also offered to take on Oyster River players.

Portsmouth’s numbers have been more stable, he said.

“My hope is they have appropriate levels where all kids can participate,” Howland said. “I just think it’s better for us.”

After the vote, Krista Butts, who with her husband, Jeffrey, helps run the local football program with Oyster River Youth Association, said she is elated.

“This is going to be a wonderful joint venture. We are so incredibly happy for our kids! They deserve this opportunity,” Butts said via text message.

It will cost $500 to $600 per student to be on Portsmouth’s team. Parents and booster clubs will be responsible for the costs of transportation.

The agreement between Oyster River and Portsmouth will last for two years, and then the districts can renegotiate the terms if needed.

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