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Banged up or not, forfeiting games is not the answer

By CHRIS MORELLI

cmorelli@lockhaven.com

Last Thursday night, the Bellefonte Area High School girls’ soccer team traveled to Philipsburg-Osceola to take on the Lady Mounties. It was the Lady Raiders’ regular-season finale and they ended their slate on a winning note, posting a 6-0 victory.

The winless Lady Mounties barely had enough players to field a varsity squad. Although being decimated by injuries and departures, P-O took the field with the players they had.

That’s very admirable — and that’s the way it should be.

The Bellefonte Area High School football team didn’t get so lucky last week. It’s opponent, Bishop Carroll, had been decimated by injuries and departures as well. As a result, the Huskies are forfeiting the remainder of their season. As a result, their was no football game at the newly-renovated Rogers Stadium in Bellefonte last Friday night and the Red Raiders were awarded a victory by forfeit.

Some may think this isn’t a big deal. But it is.

To its credit, the Bellefonte Area School District decided to go forward with its Senior Night activities. So, Friday night at Rogers Stadium, the band played, the concession stands were open while parents, family and friends streamed through the gates to honor the seniors football players, band members and cheerleaders.

Yes, it had everything ä with the exception of a football game.

According to several published reports, Bishop Carroll Athletic Director Dan McMullen said the Huskies were forced to forfeit to due to “injuries and a lack of available players.”

Iám sorry, but that stinks.

Where I’m from, if you have enough bodies, you play the game. Quite frankly, it only takes 11 players to field a team. Ask players to play on both sides of the football. Get creative. Figure it out.

Look, it’s mid-October. Find me a high school football, soccer or volleyball team that isn’t beat up at this point in the season. Injuries happen. It’s part of the game. But the games must go on.

Closer to home, Philipsburg-Osceola cancelled its game with Clearfield on Friday night. Again, P-O cited mounting injuries and departures as the reason for the forfeit. The game would have been the 600th victory in the storied history of the Bison football program.

Instead, it goes into the books as a forfeit.

I know Bellefonte head coach Shanon Manning and Clearfield head coach Tim Janocko personally. I’ve covered them at different points during my career. They’re class acts. They aren’t going to run the score up on a team decimated by injuries. In fact, I’d bet they’d use the game to get some of their reserves and younger players experience.

Bishop Carroll and Philipsburg-Osceola could follow their examples and play their junior varsity and underclassmen.

Just easier to forfeit, I guess.

If the numbers continue to be low at schools like Bishop Carroll and Philipsburg-Osceola, they should consider joining forces with another area football team so situations like this don’t happen in the future.

Forfeiting games is not fair — to anyone.

Chris Morelli is a staff writer for The Express. Email him at cmorelli@lockhaven.com.

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