Update, Thurs., September 22
According to Mission Prep athletic director Vic Ecklund, Mission Prep and Sierra Canyon agreed on Wednesday to “cancel” the game. By agreeing to cancel the game it would give each team the option of playing another game and would not affect the team’s records the way a forfeit would. Sierra Canyon wants to play another opponent to replace Friday’s canceled game, according to Ecklund.
As of Thursday, Mission Prep has not scheduled another game but Ecklund said that could change if Sierra Canyon cannot find a new opponent.
If neither team schedules a replacement game, it would count as a forfeit and loss for Mission Prep and a win for Sierra Canyon.
The Mission Prep High School football team is planning to forfeit its game scheduled for Saturday against Sierra Canyon.
Royals head coach Chad Henry said Wednesday in a phone interview that the decision was largely based on the low number of players available for the game in Chatsworth.
“It is a safety issue on one hand and a competitive issue on the other hand,” Henry said. “It was a tough decision. It’s not something that we really want to do.”
Henry said Mission Prep would only have about 20 game-ready players available if it took the field Saturday after racking up a handful of injuries in the first three games of the season.
“The football gods have not been nice to us so far,” he said.
Mission Prep lost three linebackers to injury this season, including Branson Morain (pulled groin), who is also the team’s backup running back. Henry said when the team loses one player it’s like losing two because most play both offense and defense. The problem is exacerbated by the fact that Mission Prep does not have a junior varsity team.
“(The players) are very frustrated. It’s not something they want to do,” Henry said of the forfeit, adding that it’s especially hard for those players who need the valuable exposure to garner the attention of college scouts. “Whether they like it or not, they are accepting of it.”
Henry said he needs to do a better job of managing injuries — and have luck on his side. He said the team is practicing this week like it normally would with the theme being “back to basics.”
Mission Prep, which will be 1-3 after the impending forfeit, should have all of its players back, according to Henry, when it travels to Temecula to play Linfield Christian next Friday.