Streak of forfeits plague local high school football teams - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Streak of forfeits plague local high school football teams

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ELKADER (KWWL) -

The lights will be off at one football field this Friday, but it certainly isn't the first, and likely won't be the last.  Many football teams in Eastern Iowa forced to forfeit games early in the season.

Last year, the Central Elkader Warriors were able to battle Don Bosco, the eventual state champions, to give the Dons their only loss of the season.  This year, the Warriors were unable to even face Bosco, having to forfeit last Friday's game due to injuries.

Central started the season with just 18 players. Now, mid-season, half are stuck on the sidelines with injuries.   

"[The players] get where it is at, but I also know they are getting a little frustrated with it," said Central Coach Tim Wilwert. "We have still been doing some contact drills, practicing the way we have been practicing, but it does get tiresome looking at your own guys when you want to line up and play ball."

But it will be at least another week before the Warriors will be in fighting shape.  The school has already made the decision to forfeit this week's game to Turkey Valley.

However, Central Elkader is not the only school who is battling injuries instead of opponents.  The North Butler Bearcats in Greene has already had to forfeit two games this season.

"Bottom line is that I have to be able to sleep at night and live with the decision I make. If I put 14 kids out there and left with less than 11, I would have trouble living with myself," said North Butler Superintendent, Joel Foster.

Many schools in the area are seeing a decrease in their numbers.  Warrior's Coach Tom Wilwert says the national attention to concussions could be a factor.
   
"I think there is a couple of things going on. I think the concussion situation, concussion scare has affected numbers," said Wilwert.

However, Coach Wilwert says that isn't to say they aren't taking concussion protocol very seriously.  Iowa High School Athletic Association's Todd Tharp acknowledges the shortage of players, but believes outside factors are contributing.

"Football is as safe as it has ever been and it does not help when the media sensationalizes illegal hits on their sports shows and headlines NFL players who have CTE," said Tharp in a WHOtv interview.

Along with Central Elkader and North Butler, Starmont High School near Strawberry Point forfeited an early season game due to injuries, as well.

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