Left with just 14 varsity football players following a spate of injuries, Century High School, which is in its first year, said yesterday that it will suspend its JV program for three weeks, elevating all of that team's players to the varsity.
The school made the decision Monday morning following meetings between varsity coach Matt Flanagan, athletic director Craig Walker and principal Andrew Cockley. Parents of JV players were informed through a memo Monday afternoon.
"It's either this or we just forfeit," Flanagan said. "With 14 players, we wouldn't even be able to go a half. We talked about all the different possible scenarios ... but at this point, instead of pulling five or six kids up from JV to replace the varsity players, we just are moving them all up. If we only took certain positions away from [the JV], they'd have very little chance of even finishing a game."
After beginning the season with 23 players, the Knights (0-2) - who don't field any seniors - are reeling following injuries to several key players, including quarterback Brian Donovan, receivers Ryan Pauley and Lee Sauter and fullback-safety Matt Sellers. Each of the players is expected to miss at least two weeks.
The move means that the JV will be forced to forfeit two games. That team currently has 19 healthy players.
"We were skeptical at the beginning of the year whether we were going to have a JV at all, but we figured with 23 varsity [players] and 21 JV, we could try to at least get a few games in," Flanagan said.
A school is allowed to elevate players from the JV and send them back down once per season, Flanagan said that he expects a few of the new players to have an immediate impact, though others are likely to see little, if any, playing time.
That fact has at least one parent concerned. Gene Green, whose son is a JV lineman, said he was taken aback that the school didn't involve parents in the decision-making process.
"I don't know what alternatives could have been done, but I don't think it's a good idea to take a JV team that's developing ... moving them in to fill holes and telling them that they're not going to have much playing time and they're not going to be a team for three weeks ... " Green said. "I think it's just going to kill morale and it won't alleviate any problems at the varsity level."
Green was hoping to meet with other JV parents following a school function last night.