A spate of injuries has forced a Wisconsin high school football team to cancel its remaining four games.
Westfield High School's varsity team began the season with just 19 players on its roster. By last week, that number had dwindled to just 13, mainly due to concussions.
“We did not have a limit or a plan if that had happened. We were just hoping to be healthy,” Westfield athletic director Jeff Steckbauer told the Portage Daily Register. “We had some major injuries the last two weeks that basically took out quite a few of our kids for several games or even the season for a couple of them. So we were basically left for the next couple weeks with just 13 kids.”
This is the second time Westfield has ended its varsity team’s season prematurely. Back in 2017, the school ran a JV-only squad, as the majority of its players were freshman and sophomores.
The latest setback for Westfield puts its future in question, as the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association is set to realign its conference next fall. The team can’t declare to play eight-man football until Dec. 1, 2020.
“We’re discussing it and we have discussed it the last couple years,” Steckbauer said. “With eight-man football changing more, before the new conference realignment, schools that were eight-man football were all over the state and far, far away. We just felt like we’d stay 11-man, but with eight-man football becoming more popular and more teams declaring, it makes it more enticing so schools aren’t driving forever.”
Westfield is also mulling joining a co-op but given the distance to neighboring communities, Steckbauer says eight-man is more appealing.