Sunday, March 9, 2014
By Bill Stewart
Sacopee Valley has forfeited its football game Friday against Winthrop/Monmouth because of low numbers, leaving in doubt the future of its program.
Winthrop Athletic Director Chris Moreau said Sacopee Valley informed him Wednesday night that it would only have at most 12 players available for the game.
"That is not the way to play a football game," he said. "We're disappointed, obviously, for our community. We're disappointed, but we do understand. These are things that are out of our control. Nobody wins from a situation like this."
Sacopee Valley Athletic Director Chris Hughes said three players suffered concussions in a game against Dirigo last week, which made it difficult to field a team this week.
"We had three kids on Saturday suffer concussions and that essentially put us in the position we are in," said Hughes. "We only had 11 or 12 healthy kids for our next game. After careful consideration, and for health and safety reasons, we did not think it would be responsible to put the kids into a game. We know there are potential ramifications with the Maine Principals' Association. It was on our mind, but it was an easy decision."
Under MPA rules, a team that forfeits a game can't complete its season, as well as the next two seasons, unless the school files a waiver.
Hughes said he intends to file a waiver so the team can finish the season. From there, school officials will re-evaluate what's next for the program.
"We are in that process right now," he said. "We want to make sure everything is all set. We feel comfortable with the process we're going through. Our main focus is to file a waiver and try to complete this season. At the end of the season, we will really take a look at our program. We'll look to where we're going, what we need to do for our kids and what's in our best interest."
This is the second time in four years that Sacopee has struggled to field a team. It forfeited its 2010 season opener against Jay because of academic eligibility issues. The school sought and was granted a waiver to complete that season.
Sacopee Valley is in its fifth season and has yet to win a game.