A third high school football team is now refusing to play Everett’s Archbishop Murphy amidst concerns about player safety.
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Archbishop Murphy is a private Catholic school in Everett that’s been so dominant this season that South Whidbey, Sultan, and now Granite Falls High School have all opted to forfeit instead of taking the field against the Wildcats.
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“The biggest concern is the recruiting aspect that private schools are able to do. They can pull from a 50-mile radius from their campus and send buses to pick the kids up,” said Granite Falls Head Coach Tim Dennis. “Just the level of athletes they’ve been able to bring in on one team, it doesn’t match up with a lot of the teams in our league.”
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It is an issue that is been extensively discussed among trainers and athletic directors in the Cascade Conference that Archbishop Murphy is part of. In the three matches Archbishop Murphy has played this season, they have outscored their opponents 170-0.
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“It is not that we are scared to play the match, it is an injury problem,” said Dennis. “Due to the size difference between the linemen. They’ve 300-pound linemen. And we’ve sophomores that are weight 210, beginning on varsity and 220 pounds. So that is the problem, is the size difference.”
Granite Falls High School anxieties that their children could get seriously hurt if they go through with Friday’s match against Archbishop Murphy and held a community meeting in response to parent opinions.
“My son is 5’8″ and weighs 117 pounds and only got out of middle school and just turned 14. They have got 18-year old players that are 6’5″ and weigh 330 pounds. I mean, that is like setting a Volkswagen bug against a mack truck,” said Granite Falls mother Stacey McBride.
Many other parents on the team and she believe a soccer match simply is not worth it.
“I have said from the very start that there is no way Iwill let my son play these men,” said McBride. “He said Mother I Will get killed, why would I even put myself in that place?”
Those are the school district superintendent, and the stresses parents expressed to the school’s principal, athletic director.
To Archbishop Murphy, 66-6, Granite Falls lost in 2015. In 2014, they lost 56-7.
Athletic Director Joey Johnson, initially, said the decision had been made, and the school leaders had no plans to forfeit the match of this year to Archbishop Murphy.
“We made the choice to honor the obligation that we’d made as an associate of the Cascade Conference that we’d play the game instead of forfeiting the match,” said Granite Falls Athletic Director Joey Johnson.
Finally, it was the players who had the final say.
They came forward in the middle of Tuesday’s meeting and declared they had determined as a team that they wouldn’t play with Archbishop Murphy on Friday.
Their choice was applauded by parents in the crowd. Among the players described they chose to forfeit not since they’re scared to play with Archbishop Murphy, but because the Granite Falls team is coping with some injuries. He said they had rather have the opportunity to finish their whole season out than risk someone getting seriously hurt while playing with the Archbishop team that’s much larger players and a larger roll
Soon after the assembly, Johnson sent players, coaches, and parents an e-mail supporting the official forfeit.
KING 5 reached out to Archbishop Murphy’s coach and athletic director for opinion, but we haven’t yet heard back.