Derby High School’s Football team is forfeiting the remainder of its games this season. Citing health and safety concerns, the team says it does not have enough players who are cleared to play.
The team says the health concerns are not Covid related, just old-fashioned football injuries. This season Derby has played five games, but they’ve taken a toll. The team, which began the season with 28 players, says it no longer has enough to compete safely.
“Between season-ending injuries and a handful of guys who are week to week right now, we were looking at having between 13 and 16 guys being available this week,” said head coach, Steve Bainer.
With its roster decimated, Derby has been forced to forfeit games against Oxford, Seymour, Ansonia, Gilbert and Shelton. Athletic Director Teg Cosgriff says according to CIAC guidelines, postponed games that could not be rescheduled in good faith need to be forfeited.
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“This is a health and safety thing, not a competitive, can we win or lose, kind of situation. So, we had to take that guidance,” said Cosgriff.
Adding to the disappointment is the loss of the annual Thanksgiving game against Shelton.
“It’s not the Shelton/Derby game. It’s just, “The game,” said Shelton Head Coach, Michael DeFelice.
According to the Shelton Rotary, “The Game” dates to 1914. DeFelice says he understands why the decision was made but also understands why some might be upset.
“For a lot of people, it’s what they do on Thanksgiving. We wake up, we go to the game. Hopefully our side wins and we go home and have some turkey,” he said with a laugh.
Despite no official games remaining, Derby continues to grind. A scrimmage is planned with Ansonia later this month and practices will continue, keeping the players engaged and preparing for next year.
“It might not be the way we drew it up or might not be the way we planned it to be, but we still are going to play football this year,” said Bainer.
As for the Thanksgiving tradition, DeFelice says there’s discussion of the teams still having their traditional luncheon. DeFelice says he would consider scrimmage, but with Shelton possibly heading to the playoffs a scrimmage may not be in their best interest.