Posted: 6:59 pm Friday, November 2nd, 2012
By Jeff Greer
Earlier this week, Fort Lauderdale-Calvary Christian forfeited its Friday night game against American Heritage.
Heritage, a nationally ranked team with state-title aspirations, was unhappy with Calvary Christian not only for canceling so close to kickoff, but also because it was the Stallions’ senior night and homecoming. On Friday, Calvary Christian coach Kirk Hoza offered a written statement in response to some fans’ criticism for his team’s forfeiture.
Before you read, let’s be clear: A district game cannot be canceled outright, per FHSAA rules. Therefore, any district game not played is a forfeit by the canceling or withdrawing team. So regardless of agreements or any reason behind pulling out of a game, Calvary Christian officially forfeited Friday’s game.
Here’s the unedited text of Hoza’s statement:
This week Calvary Christian Academy made a decision not to agree to play American Heritage Delray. We would have had to “agree” to play because FHSAA rules prohibit playing two games in a single week. The rule provides an exception due to weather, but only with the agreement of both coaches. The decision not to agree to play was made on Tuesday after a Monday game against 7-1-1 Moore Haven. (The game was moved to Monday because of Hurricane Sandy.) Calvary’s homecoming and senior night plans had to be moved.
Playing three games in four days is a practice that has come under considerable scrutiny lately at the highest level of football.
From Street and Smith’s Sports Business Daily:
Thursday Games Draw Ire Of Some NFL Players; Short Weeks Called Into Question
Published October 4, 2012
With the NFL’s expanded schedule of Thursday games this season, the “issue of recovery time has come into high-def focus,” according to Matt Gagne of SI. After playing four games in 18 days, Ravens players “continued to question commissioner Roger Goodell’s willingness to take issues of health and safety seriously.” Ravens DT Terrence Cody said, “The league isn’t doing anything about our safety. They’re just trying to get their money’s worth out of us.” Browns LB Scott Fujita said, “Thursday games are probably good for the bottom line, but they’re not good for the body.” Giants DE Justin Tuck said, “The NFL doesn’t care about anything like (safety). All they care about is the money and the TV ratings. I think they’ve been contradictory for a long time.”
The fact Calvary’s squad only has 22 varsity players — one of which is scheduled for an MRI today and a second of which returned to school this afternoon — certainly weighed in the decision. And no one was blind to the fact American Heritage is a formidable, nationally ranked team. The greatest burden, however, the most difficult factor weighed in the decision not to agree to play, may never be spoken about in the national media.
Calvary Christian Academy in Fort Lauderdale – perhaps unlike every other high school team in the nation – does not play for the scoreboard result. As opponents can testify, Calvary plays football games for the opportunity to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with their opponents at the end of the game. This year, in 5 of 8 contests, at least one player on an opposing team prayed to accept Jesus Christ after the game. Calvary’s burden for the hearts of all their opponents – American Heritage Delray included – is such that forfeiting that opportunity, was the most agonizing decision.