Sacopee Valley of Hiram forfeited its football game tonight with Winthrop/Monmouth because of low numbers, leaving in doubt the future of its program.

Winthrop athletic director Chris Moreau said Sacopee Valley informed him Wednesday night that it would only have 12 players for the game.

“That is not the way to play a football game,” he said. “We’re disappointed, obviously, for our community. We’re disappointed but we do understand. These are things that are out of our control. Nobody wins from a situation like this.”

Maine Principals’ Association rules prohibit forfeits, but director Mike Burnham said this situation is unique to football. Under MPA rules, a team that forfeits a game can’t complete its season, as well as the next two seasons, unless the school files a waiver.

Burnham said Sacopee Valley officials are discussing their options.

“This is unique to football because in soccer or field hockey, when you have kids who are hurt, you can just reschedule a game,” Burnham said. “You can’t really do that in football. You play just once a week. They are currently looking at the possibility of requesting a waiver should they have sufficient numbers in the next week or two. This is a time-sensitive thing because they play another game next week.

“At this particular point in time, though, they are not able to complete their season.”

This is the second time in four years that Sacopee has struggled to field a team. It forfeited its 2010 season opener against Jay because of academic eligibility issues. The school sought and was granted a waiver to complete that season.

Sacopee Valley is in its sixth season and has yet to win a game. The Hawks will drop to 0-6 with the forfeit to Winthrop/Monmouth. The Ramblers will improve to 6-0.

“We’re disappointed because we lost a home game,” Winthrop/Monmouth coach Joel Stoneton said. “We only have four so to lose one is hard for the seniors.”

Added Moreau: “There are economic implications as well. We lose the gate, the sale of merchandise and concessions. However, you can’t ever put a dollar figure in front of safety. (Sacopee Valley) had to make a decision and it made the right one.”

Bill Stewart — 621-5640

[email protected]

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