The Muskie football team forfeited its game against the River East Kodiaks today in Winnipeg, citing a shortage of manpower.
“The team has experienced quite a few injuries and [does] not have enough students at this time to participate in a football game safely,” Fort High athletic director Shane Bliss said in a news release.
“The commitment and enthusiasm for the football team remains the same,” Bliss added. “The hard work and dedication shown by the Muskie players and coaching staff over the past six weeks has been tremendous.
“However, a high school football team requires 30-35 players and six-eight coaches,” he noted.
Muskie offensive coach Andrew George said the decision to forfeit the game was a difficult one—but necessary.
“I didn’t want a situation where one guy goes down in a game and we have to forfeit,” he stressed. “That’s not fair to explain to the players halfway and it doesn’t look good on our part.
“We looked at every option we could to not forfeit the game,” George added. “But after Tuesday’s practice, we still didn’t have the numbers.
“In this league, you can’t expect to play a game after not practising, especially with us.
“The toughest thing I had to do was go tell my senior guys we weren’t travelling [today],” George noted. “I probably got more choked up than they did after seeing them get choked up, and it’s tough.
“I really feel bad for these guys,” he remarked. “The guys we have out here are a coach’s dream.
“They come out and work hard everyday.”
Meanwhile, a meeting to determine the future direction of the team will take place Monday (Sept. 28) at 4 p.m. in Room 138 at the high school.
Input from parents is encouraged.
Muskie defensive co-ordinator Bob Whitburn said the plan is to re-organize and be ready for their Oct. 1 road game against Maples.
“We’re looking to try to get into Winnipeg on Thursday, but the decision probably won’t be made until Tuesday or Wednesday night,” Whitburn noted.
“We don’t have any depth, so when we get one or two guys injured, we don’t have anyone to replace them with,” he explained.
“Then we get to a point where some of our younger guys aren’t quite physically capable of doing the job, and do we want to put them in a position where they may get hurt, too?
“As a coach, I don’t feel comfortable doing that,” Whitburn stressed.
Last night’s practice saw about a half-dozen new players come out, and the hope is word will travel fast through the high school and generate enough interest to keep the team afloat for the rest of this season.