After all, this was Snyder, a football program with a rich and storied tradition, a program that once produced standouts like Zane Corbin, Lou King, Stephan Hodnett and Miles Suber and sent Walker Lee Ashley to Penn State and eventually the National Football League.
This was the same Snyder that in the 1960s, '70s and even into the '80s, was the most feared program in Hudson County. No one wanted to face the Tigers. Even North Bergen, which captured the state title in 1978 and ended that year as the No. 1 team in all of New Jersey, wanted no part of Snyder come state playoff time. No one did. So when Price, a product of the Jersey City school system, took on the unenviable task of trying to bring some of that pride and tradition back to Snyder when Price became the head coach three years ago, people told the former Ferris and Rutgers standout that he had lost his mind.
"People were looking at me like I was crazy," said Price, who handed in his letter of resignation last week as head coach, when the Board of Education decided to demote the Snyder grid program to strictly a junior varsity status for the 2007 season, citing a lack of participation as the reason.
"I really thought it could work here," Price said. "I really wanted it to work. I never expected it to go down like this."
Especially after the ups and downs Price went through within the last month. Price first tendered his letter of resignation last month, only to be talked out of quitting by Superintendent of Schools Dr. Charles Epps.
"It meant a lot to me when the superintendent called me and told me he wanted me to stay," Price said. "I talked it over with my wife and we came to a decision that I was going to stay."
But that was before the Board of Education decided to eliminate the Tigers' varsity program, saying that the number of returning players wasn't sufficient to field an adequate team, and that the low number caused a safety issue for the players.
Once Price learned that there wasn't going to be a varsity team to coach, he resigned once again - this time for good.
"I was told in a conversation that the program was moving down to JV," Price said. "I didn't appreciate that. I couldn't work with that. When they made the decision to drop the program, they did so without contacting me. It would have been nice to have a say in the matter or offer a piece of advice. But they didn't ask me. They made the decision on their own."
Snyder athletic director Pat Clark did confirm that the program was going to be strictly junior varsity for the 2007 season for safety reasons and that the school planned to reinstate varsity football in 2008.
"But the administrators have to answer any further questions," Clark said.
Repeated calls to Snyder principal Larry Odoms were not returned by press time. A representative at the Board of Education office said that there was not going to be a comment at the present time.
Sure, dodge the issue. Tell that to the 10 or so soon-to-be seniors at Snyder who now have no place to play football. One of those players is Paris King, the son of Lou King. Lou King went from Snyder to a great career as a defensive back at the University of Iowa and is a member of the Hudson County Sports Hall of Fame. The younger King has a promising future and was considered a college prospect.
"Paris King has been getting some looks from some small colleges," Price said. "I have two other kids who are transfer students who could be good players as well."
Where do they go?
"Some have said that they will go to Lincoln," Price said. "I just want what's best for them. This is very disappointing and I know it hurts. The kids are upset. If I was a kid on the team, I'd be upset, too. I'd be out of there."
Let's face facts. Maybe the time has come for Snyder to just officially cut ties with the sport altogether. It's not working. It hasn't for a very long time. The last time the Tigers enjoyed a winning season in football was 1990. That's 17 years already, longer than most of the current players have been alive.
In that time span, the Snyder program has had to endure a host of tragic and sad situations.
In 1995, the program had to endure the tragic death of its captain, Tahid Ramsey, on the field. Ramsey collapsed during a game and later died. It's been almost 12 years since Ramsey died and there are people in local circles who still talk of the tragedy on a regular basis.
A year later, it dropped the program. When the program returned, the new head coach was quickly dismissed after it was learned that he had been arrested and charged with having had an affair with a teenaged student at his former place of employment.
There have been a handful of coaches since, as well as yet another suspension of the varsity program.
Price was moving the program in a positive direction, but was hampered by not having good weight training facilities and strangled by not being able to provide pre-game meals for the team or take the team to a summer training camp because of budget constraints.
It was a battle that there was no chance of winning.
So maybe it's just best to cut ties to football forever. Make it a thing of history, like those great Snyder teams of the past.
The plan is to bring in another coach, who will work with the team this year on the JV level and return to varsity next year. For what? And who would want that job?
"Hopefully, they'll give that person every chance to succeed," Price said.
Yeah, like the powers-that-be gave to Price over the last three years.
Better yet, never mind finding someone who wants to coach. How about if you're a seventh or eighth grader right this minute and you like playing football? Are you going to Snyder? There is no way.
Even kids who live in the Greenville section or Bergen-Lafayette section of Jersey City, areas that are in Snyder's geographic district, know they can go elsewhere to play football. It's been proven. Five of the best players on Hoboken's team last fall come from Snyder's geographic district.
Plain and simple, Snyder is not going to be able to field a JV team, much less a varsity one, in the future. That's all smoke and mirrors.
So why waste time? Just cut bait now and admit it's over. The administration obviously doesn't care. The only ones who truly care are the returning players and the outgoing coach.
"I love teaching at Snyder," Price said. "I really do. But this is just a sad situation."
It has been for a very long time. It's sad the way the Jersey City Board of Education turns its back constantly on athletics and fails to realize that having a football team at Snyder kept nearly 30 kids off the streets and doing something positive for four months every fall. It's not all about winning games on the field. It's winning the game of life. Now, those kids don't stand a fighting chance.