The Minneapolis City Conference isn't standing still or accepting that the decline of most of its football programs can't be reversed. To wit:
• Minneapolis Roose- velt is planning to reinstate its varsity program next fall after playing a junior varsity schedule in 2011.
• Artificial turf is being installed at Minneapolis Washburn, the first of what conference officials hope is the start of an annual project that results in every school getting new turf.
• City officials hope to enhance their partnership with the Minneapolis Park Board youth football programs, creating a stronger feeder program.
• The conference is working with its counterpart, the St. Paul City Conference, to have their respective teams meet in nonconference games.
But the City's football struggles are taking a toll on coaches. Henry coach John Swain, a former Vikings player, said this might be his final season. He already has started the Next Level Foundation in Minnesota, aimed at helping young people, including athletes, put themselves in position to receive college scholarships.
Rodney Lossow, who resigned two years ago as coach at Minneapolis Roosevelt, said he came to the conclusion that he could make more of an influence working with fathers rather than the children themselves. So Lossow has started R.O.C.K. Men's Ministry, hoping to work with fathers and son's from an early age, while also coaching his sons in the Minneapolis Park Board program.
Even his newest coaching gig has proved challenging.
"Our biggest problem is no one is working together,'' Lossow said. "We've got middle schools [with football teams], we've got some strong Park Board teams, and now we've got an AAU team at Phelps Park. Three programs, no continuity. We've got kids flying all over the place.''