Archbishop Murphy vs. Olympic HS: No forfeit
It's a story that's made national headlines, with five football teams forfeiting to Archbishop Murphy High School over the last few weeks, amidst concerns about player safety. Now, with one week to go before Archbishop's final game of the regular season, only one team is still willing to play them.
Olympic High School's athletic director has said they are committed to playing Archbishop Murphy, and didn't even consider forfeiting.
"We're not thinking that way. That's not on our radar," said Olympic athletic director Nate Andrews. "For us, there's not been a conversation beyond are we all good here? Are we good? Yeah, it's a football game."
Andrews acknowledged that teams have a big disadvantage when their squads are smaller and younger. However, Olympic could play Murphy again in Class 2A playoffs.
"We wouldn't forfeit in the playoffs, and why would we forfeit now?" Andrews said. "Football is dangerous, and it's going to be dangerous every night you're out there."
The game was originally set for Friday, October 21, but Olympic's October 14 game against Sequim had to be postponed due to severe weather that shut down the Hood Canal Bridge.
Olympic's game against Sequim is instead Monday, October 17, at 7:15 p.m. That game delay pushed back Olympic's game against Archbishop Murphy, which will now be played Saturday, October 22 at 1 p.m.
It will be Archbishop's final game of the regular season, because Cedarcrest High School has already chosen to forfeit its October 28 game against Archbishop.
In a statement, Cedarcrest's superintendent said the reason for the forfeiture was "a competitive imbalance between their student-athletes and ours.”
Parents of players on other forfeiting teams have pointed out that because Archbishop Murphy is a private Catholic school, it is allowed to draw athletes from a much larger geographic area than most of the public schools in the Cascade Conference.
In the three games it has played, Archbishop Murphy has outscored its opponents 173-0.
Saturday's game against Olympic will be the Wildcats first time taking the field since September 16.
"I feel bad for the kids that didn't play, honestly," said Andrews. "I get there may be reasoning for why people have to forfeit games that I can't control or understand. I'm not in that community. So they have to do what's good for their kids and what's important is safety, and if they feel that's really the reason and their community supports their decision than I fully understand. I do feel bad for the kids that didn't play. I mean, you can't make up a senior year of high school."
South Whidbey, Sultan, Granite Falls, Cedar Park Christian, and Cedarcrest all opted to forfeit rather than play Archbishop Murphy.
Archbishop Murphy's coach has said that despite the recent forfeits, his team is still working towards their goal of winning a Class 2A state championship in football.