Tarpons forced to forfeit game

South Cameron head coach Darryl Lee knew it might happen someday, but was hoping it never would. But the Tarpons’ player shortage finally caught up with them this week.

{{tncms-inline account=”Bearcatfootbal1″ html=”<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Unfortunately, Thursday nights football game vs South Cameron will be forfeited by the Tarpons due to the fact that they do not have enough healthy players to field a team. The game will go down as a 2-0 win for Basile. Hats off to South Cameron for continuing their program.</p>— Basilefootball (@Bearcatfootbal1) <a href="https://twitter.com/Bearcatfootbal1/status/1047266619448315904?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">October 2, 2018</a></blockquote>” id=”1047266619448315904″ type=”twitter”}}

With fewer than 10 healthy players, South Cameron had no other choice but to forfeit tonight’s home game against Basile. South Cameron started the season with more than 20 players but had been down to 18 in recent games.

“We had a lot of injuries,” Lee said. “I have had seven or eight that are out and unable to play, according to the doctor or trainer.

“Some of them are still pending. Some are out a week, some two weeks and some out six to eight weeks. Most of the coaches in our district know what is going on. Coach (Kevin) Bertrand is a classy guy. He understands wholeheartedly.”

Lee said the Tarpons plan to finish out the remaining games. According to Louisiana High School Athletic Association Rule 6.7.3, if South Cameron forfeits a second game, it will be “ineligible to participate at the varsity level for the next two years.”

“We just need some time to heal,” Lee said. “Our plan is that we are going to finish our schedule.

“Most of them (the players) will be back. I have one with a knee injury and a few with concussions. They don’t play with concussions because that could have a life-lasting effect on the kid. I am going strictly by what the trainer and doctor says.”

Having to forfeit has been tough for the players, especially the nine seniors. South Cameron has seen improvements this year, including a 41-26 win over Hamilton Christian in Week 4 that ended a 12-game losing streak.

“These kids are competitors,” Lee said. “They don’t want to stop.

“We are a better football team than last year. Our kids are more agile and stronger. My seniors and juniors wanted to play, but I just couldn’t do that to them with 11 kids. We don’t just lose a football player, we lose a basketball or track player. It affects us all year.”

South Cameron’s numbers have been dwindling since Hurricane Rita in 2005 and later with Hurricanes Ike in 2008. Before Rita, South Cameron easily field more than 50 players and was a state runner-up in 1969, 1974, 1986 and 1996.

“We are still feeling the affects of the hurricanes,” Lee said. “A lot of people moved out and are scared to move back.

“We are in an area prone to flooding and your insurance rates are going to be up there. Our school is 14 feet off the ground. I have had to go through the rebuilding process where I live and it is not fun to deal with. You deal with it or unfortunately move. You want to maintain the same program but you don’t have the kids to do so. It affects everyone.”

The Tarpons played their final two games last season with 14 players.

“Five of those were eighth graders,” Lee said. “One or two opted not to play this year.

“We don’t have enough kids for a junior high program. You are playing kids with not much experience.”

As far as for the future of the program, Lee said he plans to do everything he can to keep it going.

“Our goal is to keep the football program alive, keep it at South Cameron and see what happens,” Lee said. “We take everything one day at a time.

“We are going to sit down after our season with the principal and superintendent. We are going to decide what the best route will be to go. We are hoping that with the plants, that are going to come here, will pick up our enrollment.”””football game forfeit

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