UPDATE: ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- Jefferson High School will forfeit the remainder of the 2013 football season.
Administrators and coaching staff made the decision Tuesday after a majority of the team did not attend practice. Officials agreed last week to forfeit last Friday’s game after several players were consistently absent from team practices.
Jefferson Athletic Director Todd Zimmerman said the decision comes down to accountability and integrity.
Being part of a successful athletic team means coming to every practice and giving it your all.
The decision not to dress sophomore or freshmen players to field a team for the remaining two games of the season comes down to safety.
ROCKFORD (WIFR) – A NIC-10 varsity football program could be eliminated this year after coaches say too many players are skipping practice. A majority of the team at Jefferson High School has been suspended and that means the school is being forced to forfeit tonight’s game.
The players were lined up to play undefeated Boylan tonight. Jefferson has lost all six games so far this season. Last week, they lost to Hononegah 70 to 14.
“My son is very bummed, very disappointed, very disappointed in his teammates.”
It could be awhile before the Varsity Football Team at JHS hits the field again, or at all for the rest of the season. That’s heartbreaking for Mary Hendel who says her son couldn’t wait to play tonight, after recovering from an injury last week.
“He busted his butt so he could play tonight and now he can’t. We do take this seriously.”
Athletic Director Todd Zimmerman says cancelling tonight’s game wasn’t an easy choice. Now he’s reconsidering the entire varsity football program, a decision that impacts more than just the players.
“Football players are still asking questions, there are some students asking questions. I don’t think it’s sunk in as a whole, to the community as a whole.”
Zimmerman says this could affect senior night which is scheduled for next Friday.
Administrators say this is more than cancelling a game. They say they want to teach players life lessons on and off the field. “The two words we’ve talked with the guys this week and over the past two weeks have been integrity and dedication.”
Head Coach Patrick Babcock says he hates to punish the dedicated players, however he says it’s a team effort.
Administrators say they’re going to see if attendance improves each week, that will determine if the team plays on Friday nights.
The J-Hawks have two games left on their schedule against Harlem and Belvidere North, while Jefferson definitely could forfeit those contests. This isn’t an IHSA issue or a penalty so the team could technically play. If they do, the J-Hawks are in prime position to be spoilers against the Blue Thunder in the season finale. Belvidere North will likely be four and four, needing a win against Jefferson to make the playoffs.
As for tonight, the sophomore game is still going on at Boylan while the Titans’ varsity squad has a night off.
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