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HS Teams Cite Player Safety in Forfeits to Powerhouse

Jason Scott

For the second time this season, a high school football team in Washington state will not be playing a scheduled game.

In a span of three days, two schools from the Cascade Conference chose to forfeit their games against Archbishop Murphy High School, both citing concerns about player safety.

South Whidbey was the first to announce it was forfeiting a game scheduled for last Friday. Days after that announcement, Sultan High School followed suit, forfeiting their game scheduled for September 30.

“When you look at our football team thus far (this season), we’re having some success, but we’re very thin,” Sultan athletic director Scott Sifferman told the Everett Herald. “I think we’re a decent (Class) 1A football team, but we do not have a lot of depth. In the typical flow of any game, we’re rotating in a lot of young, undersized kids … and by putting some of those kids on the field, we don’t match up well (against Archbishop Murphy) at all.”

Archbishop Murphy is one of the top teams at its class in the state and has outscored three opponents 173-0, according to the Herald. As a private school, it can draw on athletes from a wide geographical area, and several top players have been attracted to the football program.

In a meeting with parents and school officials, parents voiced concerns about the game, and according to Sifferman, “Some parents told us, ‘I’m not going to let my kid be on the field.’ ”

Administrators from the conference, including ADs and principals, met twice to discuss concerns about the disparity between Archbishop Martin and the rest of the league. Cascade Conference president Jason Frederick told the Herald that  Archbishop Murphy’s remaining conference opponents are “locked into playing those games” for now.

However, Frederick admitted that individual teams would have the option to forfeit, considering their health and depth.

Frederick also said that there has been discussion about moving Archbishop Murphy to a more competitive conference. 

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