Joey, while I respect your opinion and you are most certainly entitled to it, I disagree on a few points.

For example, attendance at St. Vincent (the high school I have loved for all of my four years here) has had a steady decrease in enrollment over the past years. The cause of this I will let the reader decide.

Petaluma is a sports town. There is no doubt about that. During football season, families flock to the fields; during basketball season, families flock to the gyms; and during baseball season, families flock to the stadiums, all just to see their children play from little league to varsity.

What do athletic kids (in an athletic town like Petaluma) look for in a high school? You guessed it, athletics. Kids that fully expect to play in college both want and need to go to an excellent program with hopes of being scouted and recruited. By boasting a new coach like Mr. Herzog, a brand new coaching staff, and an incredible turf field, St. Vincent can expect a massive uptick in enrollment as class after class of athletes hear about the football prowess of St. Vincent de Paul, and beg their parents to pay for them to be a Mustang. This prowess extends into every sport. Basketball, baseball, golf, track, tennis, swimming and cross country all can reap the benefits of a class of stellar athletes flooding into the halls of St. Vincent.

SV already boasts incredible academics as well as an astonishing debate program. A standout, powerhouse football dynasty would only round out the school, and allow us to go toe-to-toe with schools like Marin Catholic.

With Mr. Daly at the helm who, like Marcus said, has a history of turning smaller schools into thriving schools, nothing is impossible for the Mustangs.

The other point I disagree with you on is the danger of high school football. While I agree with you that the sport is fueled by contact, I disagree on how it affects the high school player’s mind. I have played four years of football here, and plan to pursue playing at the collegiate level. Like all football players, I understand the risks, but also understand that the pros far outweigh the cons.

For more information read an article written by Dr. Edward Riley, MD, a man who graduated from Stanford, at

I have loved absolutely every second of my time on that field. The coaches, the experiences, the brotherhood of a football team are incredible experiences. There is absolutely no sport like football, and in a town like Petaluma, no better way to attract an athletic youth to a fantastic school like St. Vincent.

(Joe Berniklau is a senior at St. Vincent de Paul High School. He is writing in response to a letter by St. Vincent graduate Joey Wertz that appeared in the March 1 edition of the Petaluma Argus-Courier.)