Press-Republican

September 26, 2013

PHS football cancels rest of season

COURTNEY LEWIS
Press-Republican

PLATTSBURGH — Plattsburgh High School’s varsity football season is over.

Section VII Football Coordinator Mark Farmer said he was notified Wednesday morning that the Hornets will not complete their season.

“I don’t have all the details; I know they were struggling with their roster,” Farmer said. “I know they were working diligently to keep things going.”

Plattsburgh began the season with 21 players and has suffered injuries since then. The Hornets are 0-3 and have been outscored 128-12.

There will be seven teams competing in the Champlain Valley Athletic Conference the rest of the season.

“With eight teams, losing just one affects everybody. But the coaches I talked to (Wednesday), their biggest concern is the kids that lose the opportunity to play football this year. As an educator, your primary focus is opportunities for students.

“I think I speak for all football people in the North Country that we’re very sad this has occurred.”

There are four weeks left in the regular season. Plattsburgh was scheduled to host Saranac this week, and also had games remaining against Saranac Lake, Peru and Ticonderoga. Section VII is now scrambling to figure out the schedule.

“For the immediate future, obviously they’ll all be forfeits,” Farmer said. “For the bigger picture, I’ve reached out to other football coordinators — Section II, primarily — to see if they have open dates.”

Peru coach Nick Damiani said he has already lined up a nonconference opponent for Oct. 12, when the Indians were to host the Hornets. But Farmer was not optimistic that the other three teams would be able to fill the hole in their schedule. He said most teams in other sections already have full schedules and also noted that travelling distance could be an obstacle.

The Section VII playoff picture is also clouded by the loss of a team. Peru and Beekmantown are now the only Class B teams in the section. In the recent past, championship games have been played in Week 9, and if a class didn’t have enough teams to hold semifinals in Week 8, those teams would play a crossover game instead. But with an odd number of teams, the format is now up in the air.

“No question, it’s going to affect the playoff formula. What that’s going to be, I don’t know,” Farmer said. “Every coach in the league is curious right now, and most of them have contacted me wanting to know. What I’ve told them is, ‘You gotta give us a couple days to see.’ I will be soliciting input as Section Coordinator from coaches to see what they would like to see.

“Certainly there are a lot of scenarios we could go with. We’ll see what they think and try to pick the best solution to fix an unfortunate situation.”

Farmer was hopeful that Plattsburgh will resume its program in the future.

“All the coaches I’ve talked to are very interested in doing anything they can do to help Plattsburgh get back on its feet,” Farmer said. “We’ve seen schools go through tough times before — Saranac was in a similar situation many years ago.

“(Plattsburgh has) a strong football tradition, a strong sports tradition and great facilities. I’m pretty confident this is a temporary setback and they will find a way to resurrect.”

Messages left for Plattsburgh coach Jerry Defayette were not returned by press time.

Email Courtney Lewis:clewis@pressrepublican.com