Just one week into the regular season, Dirigo has decided to cancel the rest of its varsity football season.

The Dixfield school announced the decision Wednesday night in a statement posted on the RSU 56 website. The Cougars were scheduled to host Spruce Mountain on Friday night. Last Friday, they lost their season opener at Lake Region, 34-13.

“RSU 56 has decided to disband the varsity football team for the remainder of the 2019 season,” the statement reads. “This decision came after the athletic director, superintendent of schools and board chair heard from the football coaches that the current roster poses safety risks for our students.”

Dirigo Athletic Director Jessica McGreevy told the Sun Journal that there were 20 players in the football program after the first week of the preseason, but injuries quickly made lack of numbers a safety issue.

“We did have injuries that occurred. Last week, we had a few injuries that occurred during our Lake Region game that made going into this week seem not safe to go forth,” McGreevy said.

Dirigo played last season in Class E, a developmental league for schools struggling with a small amount of players. The Cougars went 8-2 and lost to Freeport in the state championship game.

The Maine Principals’ Association eliminated Class E this season with the introduction of eight-man football.

“We did have a conversation as a community about eight-man football last year,” McGreevy said. “At that point, we thought we would be able to play competitively in 11-man football.”

If there is sufficient student interest, Dirigo will petition the MPA for a waiver to move to eight-man football next season without penalty, McGreevy said.

In the meantime, the Cougars are hoping to cobble together a JV schedule for the remainder of this season. The team has continued to practice this week as McGreevy tries to find new opponents.

“We’ve been continuing to practice because we do want to keep the football program going,” she said. “We are going to work on getting games for our kids.”

Dirigo Coach Jim Hersom could not be reached for comment.

Dirigo is the second Class D school to forfeit its 11-man season since the start of preseason. Two weeks ago, Orono announced it was canceling its varsity season because of low numbers.

The Cougars’ remaining schedule included games at Madison, Freeport and Old Town, and home games against Oak Hill, Camden Hills and Mountain Valley.

FIELD HOCKEY

LAKE REGION 1, FREEPORT 0: Abby Elsaesser’s first-half goal stood up as the Lakers (3-0) defeated the Falcons (2-1-1) in Freeport.

Elsaesser finished a feed from Kaitlyn Plummer with 12:25 left in the first half.

Freeport had a 7-3 advantage in penalty corners and got five saves from Piper Sherbert.

Kelsey Gerry stopped five shots for Lake Region.

GRAY-NEW GLOUCESTER 2, CAPE ELIZABETH 1: Tiffany Ha scored twice off assists from Jasmine French, leading the Patriots (2-1) to a win over the Capers (2-2) in Gray.

Cape Elizabeth got a goal from Grace Gray, assisted by Kate McIntyre.

Gray-New Gloucester goalie Mack Baston made eight saves.

NORTH YARMOUTH ACADEMY 4, WELLS 2: A hat trick from Lilly Weinrich powered the Panthers (1-2) past the Warriors (2-2) in Yarmouth.

Katie Larson also scored, assisted by Marina Piehl, and Eliza Tod made 15 saves.

Wells got goals from Savannah Grover and Lily Clough.

YORK 3, YARMOUTH 0: Bailey Oliver scored one goal and set up two others as the Wildcats (4-0) defeated the Clippers (1-2) in Yarmouth.

Sage Works opened the scoring before Oliver gave York a 2-0 halftime lead, with an assist from Ashley Carney.

Works added a second-half goal.

SACOPEE VALLEY 1, TRAIP ACADEMY 0: Cassidy Shea scored just under five minutes into overtime to lift the Hawks (1-3) over the Rangers (0-3) at Hiram.

MOUNTAIN VALLEY 5, BOOTHBAY 3: Avery Sevigny recorded a hat trick to help push the Falcons (3-0) past the Seahawks (1-1) in Rumford.

Rylee Sevigny and Taylor Dube also scored for Mountain Valley.

Boothbay received two goals from Chloe Arsenault and another from Hali Goodwin.

VOLLEYBALL

YARMOUTH 3, BRUNSWICK/MT. ARARAT 0: Maggie Murray had 10 kills and Sophie Dickson recorded 14 assists as the Clippers (2-1) defeated the Dragons (1-1) in three games, at Yarmouth.

Evelyn Lukis added six kills as Yarmouth won, 25-7, 25-9, 25-16.

Sabrina Cooper led Brunswick with three kills and 10 digs.

BOYS’ SOCCER

FALMOUTH 6, MASSABESIC 0: Gus Ford collected two goals and an assist as the Yachtsmen (2-0) defeated the Mustangs (0-2) at Falmouth.

Falmouth broke the game open with five goals in the second half, from Adrian Friedman, Ford, Charlie Adams, Ben Pausman and Mason Farr. James Parker, Emmitt Frueh, Mason Farr and Wyatt Roy had assists.

LINCOLN ACADEMY 2, MORSE 1: The Eagles (2-0) got goals from Levi Farrin and Jack Duncan in the first half and held on to beat the Shipbuilders (0-2) in Bath.

Lincoln goalie Tiger Cumming made 14 saves.

Alden Harkins scored for Morse, and Brenton Cahill recorded nine saves.

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