For the second year in a row, the Beth-Center football team has started Tri-County South Conference play with two consecutive victories. And the Bulldogs haven’t given up a point.
That’s quite impressive because the season is only six days old.
However, nobody at Beth-Center is happy about the start.
That’s because the second win has come via forfeit.
Beth-Center has been informed that Geibel will forfeit its game Friday against the Bulldogs because of a lack of healthy players. The game was scheduled to be played in Fredericktown and was one of only four home games for the Bulldogs this season.
This is the second consecutive year that Geibel, a catholic school located in Connellsville, has forfeited a Week 2 game to Beth-Center because of a player shortage. Geibel has the smallest male enrollment of any WPIAL school that fields a football program.
“I received a call Monday from the Geibel athletic director. He said they held practice Monday but had only 11 players, so they won’t be able to play Friday,” Beth-Center athletic director Barry Niemiec explained. “They sent notice to both the WPIAL and us that they will not be playing.”
Geibel opened its season Friday with 16 players and lost 81-0 to Frazier.
That’s right, 81-0.
It was 81-0 at halftime, which was the fifth-most points ever scored in one half in United States high school football history, according to National Federation of State High School Associations records.
With Geibel down to 13 healthy players by halftime, the game officials and coaches of both teams, agreed to play the second half, but with one-minute quarters. Frazier simply had its quarterback take a knee to run out the clock.
The decision to forfeit leaves Beth-Center, which opened with 47-0 victory over Mapletown, with an unwanted open date, but an extra week to prepare for what should be a key conference game Sept. 13 at Carmichaels.
“I feel bad for our kids,” B-C coach Ed Wood said. “They work their butts off starting in January to play a whole year of football, then this happens. Our seniors have lost out on playing in a game two years in a row. It’s terrible.”
Niemiec said he attempted to find an opponent for the Bulldogs but wasn’t successful.
When Imani Christian announced in mid-August that it was dropping football, it left every school in the Black Hills Conference with an open date. Many of those schools filled those dates with games against teams in PIAA District 6 or Maryland. Serra Catholic was originally scheduled to play Imani Christian this weekend.
“I called (Serra athletic director) Bill Cleary and was told Serra was playing a game,” Niemiec said. “Everybody in this area is booked. It stinks. I feel bad for the kids. They’re missing a game for the second year in a row. You hate to see that happen, but what can you do? It does happen at the small schools because the numbers have become so low.”
Niemiec said something should be done by the WPIAL to prevent similar situations from happening. He said he’d be in favor of establishing a minimum number of players a school must have before it’s permitted to field a team, but even that doesn’t take into account injuries, which can deplete a roster.
“Sure, something has to be done, but what? I feel for Geibel because that could be us or another school,” Niemiec said. “We’ve had years when we had a varsity girls basketball team but didn’t have enough players for junior varsity games. This is not just a Tri-County South problem because it happened at Imani Christian. You just have to make the best of a bad situation.”
Geibel is scheduled to play Sept. 13 at Vincentian Academy and host Mapletown Sept. 21.