Scott Cranston has abandoned his dream of a Yanceyville-based semi-pro football team, citing a lack of players and the Covid-19 pandemic.
“I'd give anything to be able to get out there and play,” said Cranston, 51, a New York transplant who said he played wide receiver and free safety in high school and college, and also played semi-pro ball. “It just didn't work out that way.”
He had hoped to launch the Caswell Rhinos as part of the Central Carolina Football League, now in its 10th season.
Cranston said he had been in negotiations to use the Caswell County Fairgrounds on County Home Road for home games. The league has eight teams in North Carolina and South Carolina, including the Reidsville-based Rockingham Grizzlies. They play an eight-game fall schedule.
The league, he said, was receptive to his efforts to form a team. But the fact he was new to the area posed unforeseen recruiting challenges.
Cranston, who said he'd moved to Reidsville four years ago and worked for Beta Fueling Systems until he was recently furloughed, had been looking for players 18-years-old and older to form his team. About 15 had quickly indicated an interest, he said.
“That was before Covid-19 hit,” he said. “Once that hit I pretty much lost everybody. I thought it was going to be pretty simple to put a team together. But I didn't know the right people.”
He had hoped to be able to use the Dillard Middle School football field for home games, but the Caswell County Board of Education denied that request.
Cranston said he had considered trying out for the Rockingham Grizzlies, but had decided against it.
“I wanted to run the team,” he said.
League players aren't paid and are responsible for most of their own expenses, Cranston said. He had expected to charge a small fee for game tickets and hoped sponsors would step up and help cover the costs of referees and game equipment like chain sets.