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NORTH SMITHFIELD, R.I. (WPRI) — The Northmen won’t be playing Friday, after school officials had to make the tough decision to forfeit the rest of the varsity football season.
“We got to the point where we only have 12 players eligible,” said Principal Tim McGee. “Of those 12, there are several still fighting injuries.”
McGee said he notified students Friday of the decision to forfeit the rest of the season, which consisted of Friday’s game against undefeated Smithfield and the Thanksgiving Day game against Scituate.
“As you can imagine, many were disappointed,” McGee said. “I’m disappointed.”
McGee says there was low turnout for the team this year, and a lot of freshmen players. The team had 29 players on the roster at the beginning of the season.
Nineteen players were injured throughout the fall, with sprained ankles, bruised ribs, broken fingers and illnesses. Two players got concussions this season.
While some players were able to return from their injuries, only 12 were eligible for Friday’s game. It was technically enough to play, but not considering the condition of some of the players.
“You don’t want any student playing injured,” McGee said. “Me sending a kid out to do that…we have a team that hasn’t won a game this season and would be playing an undefeated team. It just doesn’t make sense.”
The Rhode Island Interscholastic League applauded North Smithfield officials Friday for paying attention to their players’ injuries and following through with concerns.
According to the RIIL, North Smithfield’s would-be competitor Smithfield will not play Friday night. Scituate, the planned Thanksgiving Day rival, does not have another game scheduled for the holiday, and it is unclear if another game will be scheduled.