Perquimans mulls forfeiting remaining football games because of too few players
By Peter Williams
The Perquimans Weekly
Thursday, October 4, 2018
HERTFORD — The Perquimans County Schools is considering forfeiting the rest of the varsity football season because the high school team has too few players.
Superintendent Matthew Cheeseman said Thursday no decision has been made, but forfeiting the school’s remaining games this year is under active consideration. He said school officials are weighing a number of issues, but player safety remains the foremost concern.
The Pirates started the football season with 21 players on the varsity team. By comparison, Northside-Pinetown — the team Perquimans played in its season opener — fielded 35 players. That allowed Northside-Pinetown to rest players as needed.
Perquimans High School hasn’t had that luxury. Last Thursday, Perquimans brought up 11 players from the school’s junior varsity team to beef up the roster in the game against Pasquotank County High School.
The Pirates are 0-6 on the season and have been outscored 237 to six during those games.
Perquimans High School Principal Wayne Price said school officials will meet Friday to determine if the five remaining games should be forfeited.
“I can tell you that we’re having a meeting tomorrow,” Price said. “There are several paths in front of us, and I can’t say which we will take and I don’t want to speculate. I just want people to know we’re going to be taking into account the best interests of our students. As a parent of kids in this school system, I want them to know that.”
Perquimans Athletic Director Justin Roberson couldn’t be immediately reached for comment. Pirates head coach Randy Awrey was in a meeting and also unavailable.
Perquimans isn’t the only school facing a shortage of football players. Chapel Hill High School, a 3-A school, opted to cancel its varsity football season this year because of a lack of players. Chapel Hill has an enrollment of 1,600 students, or about the same number as Perquimans has in the entire K-12 district.
Cheeseman said Roberson attended a meeting of athletic directors last week and the issue of declining player participation was discussed.
Perquimans made a bold step this season to field a junior varsity team because of a large class of incoming players from the middle school. Cheeseman maintains fielding the JV team was the right decision because it gives younger players a chance to develop against players their own age instead of having to play against 18-year-olds at the varsity level.
But the decision came at a cost because it reduced the depth of the high school’s varsity team.
“It’s been hard to sustain this year,” Cheeseman said.
While Perquimans is considering ending its football season early, district officials are taking into consideration the other schools on the schedule, he said.
“Our relationship with the other schools has to be considered. They have kids and they are expecting to play us,” Cheeseman said.
The Pirates are scheduled to play Washington County Friday night. There are also home games slated for Oct. 12 against Gates County, Oct. 19 against Manteo and Nov. 2 against John A. Holmes. The school’s remaining away game is Oct. 26 against Camden.