MAXWELL, Iowa -- From road signs to homemade light fixtures on barns, the pride for Collins-Maxwell-Baxter athletics has been strong.
"It's pretty awesome playing with my best friends, my brothers. You get to know some of them pretty well," said junior CMB football player Brock Staudt as he prepared for another summer practice.
Whether from Collins, Maxwell, or Baxter, for nearly three decades, they were all Raiders.
"We are really small in both communities so we need each other to play," said Senior CMB football player Tucker Maxwell.
Monday evening, the Baxter Community Schools District unanimously voted to end the 29-year athletic partnership with Collins-Maxwell after the 2016-2017 school year.
"I think they really didn't think about the players or students in their voting. They just thought about themselves and what's better for them," said Staudt.
In June, the Collins-Maxwell School District declined Baxter's invitation for whole grade sharing and chose to share Ballard Superintendent Ottie Maxey. "The Collins-Maxwell board at an earlier meeting in June just pledged a commitment to the relationship and felt like it was the best thing for the kids." While state tournament appearances in both girls softball and baseball this year proved the partnership was working on the field. The Baxter board didn't see it that way, saying in a statement, "We recognize and respect that our two districts are
"The Collins-Maxwell board at an earlier meeting in June just pledged a commitment to the relationship and felt like it was the best thing for the kids," said Maxey.
While state tournament appearances in both girls softball and baseball this year proved the partnership was working on the field, the Baxter board didn't see it that way, saying in a statement, "We recognize and respect that our two districts are in very different places with the alliance and wish to honor our partners request of allowing one another space to develop long-range plans that will serve each district best."
As the CMB team prepared for another summer practice, the thought of being the last football team to represent CMB was sinking in.
Staudt said, "Everyone is trying real hard lately and it's going to be the last season of CMB, so we want it to be good."
For 30 years the "Raider Way" included three communities coming together successfully as one. Now the athletic relationship will soon fade but Superintendent Maxey believes the academic future at Collins-Maxwell will remain as bright as the lights on Friday night at Sullivan Field.
"We will continue to work and get better and improve on behalf of the kids on the academic side just like we are going to try to do on the athletic side," Staudt said.
The Baxter School Board plans to hold community forums no later than September and or October of 2016 to further explain their decision and future plans.