High school cancels football season because football is "unsafe"
Oscoda, Michigan, High: Teaching our children to quit at the first sign of adversity since 2006!
Coach: Continuing season would be unsafe
OSCODA, Mich. (AP) - Oscoda Area High School's football team hasn't won a game, or even scored a point, in four games this season. Now the school district has decided to cancel the remaining games.
Despite pleas from players and parents, the board in the small northern Michigan district recently upheld the school's earlier decision to end the season, saying players risked injury in trying to take on much stronger opponents.
"When you go to a game on Friday night and see a team physically dominated, those are the indisputable facts," said coach Kyle Tobin.
"Seniors, I feel for you. There's nothing I can say other than I'm sorry," said board member Neal Sweet. "But you're not quitters. You went out there and did your best."
Tobin said the team was not physically competitive, had too few players and faced a tough schedule in the North East Michigan Conference, The Bay City Times reported.
Senior quarterback Mike Gondek pleaded with the school board to reconsider the school's Sept. 19 decision to cancel the remaining games.
"All I ever wanted to do was play football," Gondek said. "My teammates never felt so unsafe that we didn't want to be out there."
Tobin, who is in his first year as head coach at the 530-student school, defended his decision to recommend calling off the season.
"I have 28 years of coaching experience in high school and college, and I know the difference between a team playing bad and a team that's unsafe," he said.
The scores in Oscoda's games this season were 46-0 against Flint Hamady on Aug. 25, 30-0 against Whittemore-Prescott on Aug. 31, 44-0 against West Branch Ogemaw Heights on Sept. 8 and 44-0 against Tawas on Sept. 15.
Oscoda forfeited its game Friday against Pinconning and had four more games left on its schedule.
Tobin coached the Whittemore-Prescott football team to three state finals and one championship before leaving three years ago.
He said Oscoda High could barely meet the minimum number of players needed to field a team. He said one reason was that it did not have a junior varsity football team last year. It also lost several players to injuries.
Coaches put several sophomore players on the junior varsity team so they could compete and train without so great a risk of injury.
Some in the audience of about 100 people Monday spoke in Tobin's support.
"When you have a coach who comes and says 'unsafe,' it's not about the band, the boosters or the cheerleaders. It's about some kid getting paralyzed," said Terry Ekdahl, whose has a son on the junior varsity team.