Trinity Catholic High School in Missouri is having trouble getting opponents to show up for games. Via Fox2Now:
“On Tuesday, St. Charles High School decided to forfeit. A school rep said their boys are underclassman and too small. They’re worried about the safety of their student athletes.”
Meanwhile, Lutheran North, who is ranked 3rd in Class 2A, also had a game forfeited a few weeks ago.
It’s a multi-layered story. Is this another talking point for declining participation rates in high school football, and concerns over injuries? It should be noted that the teams in question have not forfeited the remainder of their season over injury concerns and shut down the season.
And while Lutheran North and Trinity Catholic are both classified in 2A as small private schools from St. Louis–and that classification is mostly populated by small rural communities–the forfeiting opponents are not. Missouri has 6 different classes for 11-man football (I live in a district that plays in the largest class in the Kansas City area). The three schools that have canceled or forfeited are all in Class 4A, and here’s the enrollment ranges for each class. These aren’t the tiniest of schools.
Priory canceled their opener against Trinity Catholic (and played another team instead) and also forfeited against Lutheran North. That one replacement game is their only victory of the year. Bishop DuBourg, another private school in Class 4, has been outscored 36-375 in the 7 other games besides forfeiting against Trinity. St. Charles High, the most recent forfeiter, is a public school in one of the largest Western suburbs of St. Louis, and is 2-6 on the year.
Ben Frederickson of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch has a deeper look into the story.
Lutheran North coach Carl Reed was more blunt in his assessment.
“The injury thing is just not true,” he said. “It’s just not valid. If you can play the week before, and you can play the week after, you could have played against us.”
Frederickson mentions chatter about the two programs and “style of play” and complaints about recruiting. Both teams are coached by young black coaches with predominately black rosters. “I think it’s because we are an all-African-American team with an African -American coach,” coach Carl Reed of Lutheran North said.
Reed also claims that St. Charles tried to pull a “switcheroo” and play 1-7 Normandy this week, but that fell through because Normandy wouldn’t forfeit the game against his school.