One parent stated Cedar Park sustained injuries the past two years against ATM where a player had to be carted off the field on a stretcher.
Players are taught to focus on one game at a time, but in the stands Friday at Cedar Park Christian School’s football game against King’s talk was about next week.
The Eagles, a Class 1A private school in Bothell, expect they will join other members of the Cascade Conference and also forfeit their game against Archbishop Murphy. CPCS is scheduled to play Archbishop Thomas Murphy — known colloquially as ATM – on Oct. 14 as part of the Wildcats’ homecoming festivities.
In an email to The Seattle Times, ATM coach Jerry Jensen said of the forfeit, “I have not been informed of that by a CPC official yet.”
Dr. Clint Behrends, the CPCS superintendent, surveyed the school’s football team’s players and parents for a final decision likely to be announced Monday. Although some players petitioned to play, the consensus among parents is to forfeit.
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“It’s much like a cavalcade of emotions,” said Behrends, whose school lost 51-13 to King’s. “Once the first team decided (to forfeit), many parents became concerned about the safety of their own kid … we want to respect that. Yet, I do feel an obligation to the league and to what we stand for that we’ll honor what we said we would do and that is to play. It’s an unfortunate situation for us.”
If formalized, Cedar Park Christian would be the fourth consecutive team in the Cascade Conference to forfeit its league game to Archbishop Murphy.
South Whidbey forfeited its Sept. 23 game against ATM due to having just 14 active players because of previous injuries and others dropping out. Sultan and Granite Falls followed, citing safety concerns as reasoning for not playing.
ATM has seven players on its roster who weigh 245 pounds or more, including Abraham Lucas, a 6-foot-8, 260-pound two-way player committed to Washington State. The Wildcats played three games this season, winning by a combined score of 170-0.
Lisa Wilkins, whose son Zach is a 5-8 freshman on the CPCS roster, said Cedar Park has sustained injuries the past two years against ATM where a player had to be carted off the field on a stretcher. The Eagles lost those games by a combined score of 103-7.
“We were thinking, ‘two years of injuries, I don’t know if we want to go for three,’” Wilkins said of the discussion between parents. “I don’t think they’re playing to hurt other players. That’s just what happens when you have a 4A team, like they’ve got, playing a 1A, like we have. I know they’re a 2A team, but they’re big, strong guys. … We’re not softies, just realistic and it’s common sense.”
ATM canceled practice Wednesday and instead held a press conference to respond to the first three forfeits. Players and assistant coaches stood behind Jensen as he told the story of the 16 seniors who were 3-6 together as freshmen and have the goal of winning the school’s first state championship since 2003.
The Wildcats (6-0, 4-0league ) will still qualify for the Class 2A state football tournament. They will play on Oct. 21 at home against Olympic High School of East Bremerton. Olympic athletic director Nate Andrews told the Kitsap Sun on Wednesday he expects the Trojans to play the nonleague game.
Jensen wants the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association to intervene to stop schools from forfeiting or at least give their opponent more notice than three days. It’s unlikely Archbishop Murphy will find a replacement game for its homecoming next week should Cedar Park opt to not play.
In a released statement, the WIAA said it’s in contact with member schools in the Cascade Conference regarding the recent forfeitures to provide counsel and assistance.
King’s athletic director Rick Skeen expects a change to be made in football by the 2017-18 season. The Knights, a private Class 1A school, were the last team to play ATM, losing 38-0 on Sept. 16.
“Everybody understands that we’ve got to do something different,” he said.