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Thursday, January 28th, 2010 -- 11:50 AM

Granton and Greenwood will coop in football next year.

The Granton School Board voted 4-1 in favor of the idea last night after a lengthy public meeting.

Both the Greenwood and Neillsville school boards previously approved a football coop with Granton, and Granton had to make a decision by the WIAA?s February 1 deadline.

The Granton-Neillsville partnership seems to make the most sense on paper. The trip to Neillsville is under 10 miles, compared to 19 miles to Greenwood, and the overall cost to the district will be a few thousand dollars more with Greenwood, but the public voiced other concerns during a public hearing proceeding the vote.

The biggest concern of those in attendance seemed to be the reluctance of the current Neillsville coaching staff to enter into the agreement. The coop could bump the team up a division, should they make the playoffs.

Meanwhile, Greenwood?s football numbers were well down last year, so the partnership is seen to be more mutually beneficial.

"As far as the coaching at Greenwood, the Greenwood varsity coach is awaiting my phone call for your decision. He's very excited about it," said Rhonda Opelt, who lives in the Granton district and works for the Greenwood district. "He does realize it does take time for this program to build."

Granton had previously cooped with the Loyal for two years before the Loyal board discontinued the arrangement last year, prior to that, Neillsville and Granton had co-oped in football.

The coop still must receive conference approval before being sent to the WIAA.

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