ROCKFORD – Students gather on the football field at Jefferson High. But they're not football players. The coach says many of his varsity players haven't been showing up to practice. "We got a lot of guys that just--no call, no show. They do that type of thing. And they're seniors and they know better. These are guys that have been in our program for a year now and that's why it's majorly disappointing."
In fact, the coach says only 10 players on the varsity team have consistently showed up for practice--not enough to even field an offense. And so Jefferson has called off Friday night's football game with Boylan. Todd Zimmerman is Jefferson’s Athletic Director: “It's not fair to the kids that put in the daily grind of coming out to practice everyday."
Jefferson is 0-6, losing 70-4 last week to Hononegah. So it's been hard for Coach Babcock to motivate the team to turn out in greater numbers. “I think the two words that we've really talked about this week with the guys and over the past three to four weeks have been integrity and dedication. You know, if you're going to say you're going to do something I think you need to follow through on it."
Junior Varsity teams will still be playing at Boylan High School Friday, but for a school that usually draws large numbers, there will be a lot smaller turnout. Paul Heikamp is Boylan’s Athletic Director: “We had our ‘Future Titan Night schedule for tonight--we've pushed that back for two weeks and we'll do that for our last home game of the year."
This is his first time seeing another team forfeit in the NIC-10. And Jefferson could set another milestone -- by canceling the rest of their varsity games. Zimmerman explains: “I think at this point, right now, we're gonna concentrate on the sophomore and freshman programs."
Jefferson High School officials have not decided yet if they will forfeit the rest of their varsity season.