DANBURY — Coach Mitch Reeves had the difficult task of telling his North Stokes football players Tuesday afternoon their season is officially over.
“The kids were upset, the coaches are upset, but sometimes you’ve got to look at a situation and use a little bit of common sense for all parties involved,” Reeves said.
North had nine seniors on the roster, but only six dressing out, and just three juniors on the team.
“We didn’t have a lot to begin with but we added a few and then got hit with some injuries,” the coach said. “We moved a few freshmen up that could defend themselves, but I’m not going to move ones that aren’t physically ready to be a varsity player yet.”
With a 0-6 record at this point in the season, the Vikings will forfeit the last five Northwest 1A Conference matchups.
“We hate it for the seniors, even though I think they understand. I’d rather a kid be upset with the decision we’ve made than to come off the field with a big injury that’s going to affect them months down the road. It’s putting them in a bad situation,” Reeves said.
As the smallest high school in the county, many North Stokes athletes play multiple sports.
“An injury for us affects our basketball program and baseball. We have a state championship track team that kids will be returning to,” Reeves said.
The program is still working through the logistics and plans to meet with parents and players this week.
“We’ll still have homecoming and recognize our seniors. We should be able to answer any questions in the next day or two.”
The Vikings JV team, which has 20 freshman alone, will finish out their regular season.
“Varsity will definitely be back next year. All these freshmen will have a year under them and a year of weightlifting to get them ready.”
Between 2005 and 2009, the Vikings went 29-32 with two winning seasons under Coach Frank Sessoms.
Since then, the team has struggled under four coaches: Sessoms, then Jason Lippard, Jason Smith and now Reeves. The combined mark over the past seven seasons (including the five forfeits) is 19-64.
Aside from 2015’s respectable 6-6 mark, the Vikings have gone three of the past four seasons without a win — going 0-11 in 2013, 2014 and now 2016.
The forfeits mean that Atkins (0-6 so far) now has its first win of the season. The average game score in the Atkins’ losses is 47-2, even worse than the Vikings’ 38-4 average score. And with Winston-Salem Prep (playing its first season in the Northwest Conference) at 1-4, the Vikings might have won a couple of league games, even with several JV players up on varsity.
As for Mount Airy, this week’s would-be opponent improves to 6-0, 1-0 in the Northwest.