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Sheffield cancels football season after one game

The Sheffield Wolverine football team has played its last snap this season.

Warren County School District announced Thursday that the remainder of the varsity and junior varsity seasons were canceled.

“The 2020-2021 SAMHS Varsity and Junior Varsity football program cannot go forward in the season due to safety concerns related to numbers,” Superintendent Amy Stewart said in a Thursday night email.

There were only going to be 17 players available for the team’s game tonight against Curwensville — below the minimum limit set previously by the school board.

“After assessing the situation at practice today, the team was looking at 17 players of various skill, experience, and preparation levels for the next game,” Stewart said. “District football teams fall into the red zone within our procedure at 19 players.”

The number of players on the team has been low since the season began.

“Participation numbers in the program started out low,” Stewart said. “Sheffield is missing its long-time cooperative teammates from Abraxas. At the onset of the season, Sheffield thought they would have enough of their own players to complete the season, but unfortunately, that did not happen.”

“Teams often lose players throughout the season due to injury, or simply because players decide to shift to other activities,” she said. “In Sheffield’s case, they just didn’t have enough players to overcome the loss of players after last week’s game.”

A shortage of able-bodied players led to safety concerns for those who remained.

“At that point, we must assess the safety of the team moving forward,” Stewart said. “As much as everyone would like to see the students have the opportunity to play, I can’t support knowingly putting our students in an unsafe situation with this number and combination of players.”

“I know this decision is disappointing to the players and their coaches that have worked hard,” Stewart said. “I know it is also disappointing to the cheerleaders and their coaches who have also worked hard.”

Last week, Sheffield opened its season with an 86-0 loss to Keystone. The Wolverines trailed, 79-0, at halftime.

“I know this is going to impact the entire school community and the Sheffield community,” Stewart said. “We are simply out of alternatives at this point in the season.”

The impacts, if any, beyond this year are unknown.

“We can begin to talk about alternatives and possibilities for next year in the coming weeks,” Stewart said.

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