WEST MADISON — Scott football coach Shane Griffith said it was one of the hardest decisions he’s made as a coach, but he’s confident he made the right one.
“If we had to play tonight, I’d sit seven kids from my roster of 25,” he said. “At some point, we have to look at the health and well-being of these young men. I’ve been conflicted by the idea of playing two games in one week. There is a reason the NFL doesn’t double-down on their money and play two games in a week. The human body needs time to recover from this game.”
Class AA Scott (1-6) suffered a 28-0 loss to Ripley on Tuesday and would turn around and host Cardinal Conference foe Poca (4-1) on Friday for an evening tilt. Poca defeated Buffalo last Friday and would have a full week to rest.
Scott’s season opening game with Herbert Hoover was canceled and rescheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 27.
Griffith stated that, while their SSAC schedule shows the Skyhawks forfeiting their rescheduled tilt with the Huskies the following week, it was his understanding that this game would only be a forfeit if the state’s COVID-19 school alert map that updates each Saturday would allow them to play.
“There has to be a period where you recover, reteach, prepare and then play,” Griffith said. “These young boys’ bodies were being exposed to what I feel is potential severe harm. In the third and fourth quarters of our game (Oct. 16) at Liberty (Raleigh), our boys weren’t tired. They were beat up. We have 12 or 13 boys playing varsity ball, practice on Monday, play on Tuesday and practice that week and play on Friday. I feel that you are no longer safely playing this game.”
Griffith added that he knew there would be backlash and that he understands and accepts that.
“We’re going to play one game per week,” he said. “I’ll take the heat if it means keeping these boys safe. I’m OK with that. I’m trusted with their safety while they are with me and I take that very seriously.”
He added, “Nor did I want to cause Poca harm in their quest for a state championship. They deserve that chance and this is a short notice and they deserve that forfeiture.”
The Skyhawk’s all-time winningest football coach said that, providing the map allows for the games, Scott will play Winfield on Oct. 30 and Nitro on Nov. 6. If they cannot play, he will seek games to replace them in respect to the map if at all possible.
“We will play a game a week for the rest of the season,” he said. “End of story.”