Traip Academy, one of six teams in a new classification designed to help struggling football programs, pulled the plug on the rest of its 2017 varsity schedule Monday because of a dwindling number of healthy players.

Athletic Director Mike Roberge said Traip entered last weekend’s home game in Kittery against Boothbay with 16 players but sustained five injuries. Three players were transported to a local emergency room.

“We’ve been struggling with our numbers, and with the injuries we’ve had, we feel it’s unsafe to continue the program this year,” Roberge said.

Boothbay won the Class E game, 41-12. The previous weekend, Traip forfeited a scheduled contest at Washington Academy. Traip’s season opener was played as more of a junior varsity contest against Sacopee Valley, which won 25-0.

Roberge said the team, which includes only two seniors and one junior, would continue to practice and might be able to play subvarsity games, given enough healthy players.

Traip was scheduled to host a game Saturday against Camden Hills, which has rebounded since canceling its 2015 season in late September of that year.

“I told Mike I completely understand,” said Steve Alex, athletic director at Camden Hills, which has a roster of 21. “I’m going to talk it over with my coach. There are some club teams, and if my coach wants to do it, we might try to squeeze in a game. Otherwise, we’ll just take a bye week.”

Traip becomes the sixth Maine school in as many years to drop varsity football, joining Boothbay (2016), Camden Hills, Telstar (2015), Sacopee Valley (2013) and Calais/Woodland (2012). The Maine Principals’ Association placed all but Calais/Woodland in Class E for this fall, along with Maranacook. Washington Academy belongs to Class D North.

“The good thing is that all of the ADs in Class E realize this was a developmental program,” said Roberge, who expressed hope the program would return to varsity status next fall. “The older kids, they’ll be upset because this is their last hurrah. But when they look at the big picture, they’ll realize this is the best decision for all involved.”

Eighteen players began preseason practice for Traip, down from 28 last fall, but two decided not to continue. Roberge said only 12 players were healthy and eligible in Week 2 against Washington Academy, which is why he decided to forfeit rather than make the 268-mile trip to East Machias.

Beside Camden Hills, Traip was scheduled to play Maranacook (twice), Telstar and Boothbay (again).

Traip snapped a 51-game losing streak in 2006, and five years later rose to reach the Western Class D championship game despite sporting a roster of only 19 players. The Rangers won eight games in 2011 and 2012, but have only five wins since 2013.

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