The Potterville High School football season kicked off with a bit of a rough start. Due to several injuries and a shorthanded team, the Potterville athletic department was forced to cancel its game scheduled for Friday, Sept. 23.
Ashley Murray, the athletic director for Potterville public schools, cited several obstacles for the football program this year.
“We started off with a low number of kids. There’s 19 total in the program, and we’ve had a lot of injuries over the last four weeks,” Murray said.
While there have been a number of injuries so far this season, the major injuries that set the team back included a broken wrist, a torn MCL with a concussion, and two other concussions that weren’t cleared by Monday, Sept. 19. The minor injuries include several muscle strains.
“Playing both sides of the game every down, every game you get beat up a little bit,” said Murray referring to the shorthanded team this season.
Murray can’t quite place a finger on what the reason is for the low number of players this year. Overall this senior class doesn’t have as many athletes, according to Murray, but she also recognizes that Potterville had a large graduating class last year, which in turn meant more football players. Currently the players Potterville does have are trying to recruit more players for following years.
Despite the stress of having to cancel the Sept. 23 game, Murray said that the Potterville community has been very supportive. Parents of the players understand the situation. The biggest problem with the cancellation was that it unfortunately fell on the same date as Dansville’s homecoming, the team set to play against Potterville on Sept. 23.
Murray noted that while they’re facing some struggles with low numbers and injuries this year, Potterville football is not going anywhere.
“We’ll always have football,” said Murray. “You kind of go through those lulls when numbers are low. It just hurt us more this year than last.”
Murray doesn’t anticipate having to cancel any more games in the near future, but at the same time she understands they can’t put the remaining players in a position to get hurt more.
The decision to cancel the Friday game was also supported by Potterville’s new varsity coach, Phil Heim.
“He cares about his players, but knew he couldn’t in good conscience put them out there this week,” said Murray.
Game cancellations aside, the athletic director had nothing but positive things to say about Heim. The new coach put in a lot of time and effort over the summer to prepare for the season, and the players are responding well to him.
Those wanting to stay updated with the progress of Potterville High School football are encouraged to check online at PottervilleAthletics.com for dates and times of future games and potential cancellations.