NEW HANOVER, N.C. (WWAY) – Last week was about as tough for the New Hanover Wildcats as it could have been.
Not only did students go through a traumatizing shooting in the hallways of the school, the football team will also take 2 losses.
New Hanover was originally meant to face Leesville-Road on Thursday, and the schools has inked the contract to play that game before the season started.
With the events at New Hanover high school Monday, the Wildcats did not practice much during the week, and requested Leesville-Road move the game to Friday night, instead of the scheduled Thursday game. Both Leesville Road and New Hanover could not host a Friday game because of staffing issues, according to Leesville Road and New Hanover.
New Hanover, realizing they otherwise would not have a game, found an opponent who could play and host Friday night in Carolina Forest. The Wildcats drove down to South Carolina to play a game, while the Leesville-Road team did not play.
We have reached out and do not know for sure if The Pride attempted to schedule another game for Friday after finding out they would not play New Hanover.
According to Leesville-Road Pride football team, in a statement given to the Star News, they attempted to make New Hanover’s accommodations work:
“We of course were saddened by the incident that occurred at New Hanover High School this week. Though we were prepared to host our scheduled game on Thursday, we tried to honor New Hanover’s request to move the game to Friday/ We made every effort to do so, but, due to the (Labor Day) holiday weekend, we were not able to retain enough staff members to allow the event to be managed safely. Our team then offered to travel to New Hanover to play the game at their home field on Friday. However, New Hanover informed us that they encountered similar staffing issues. We consulted with the NCHSAA, and officials confirmed that we were within the regulations to accept a forfeit. We felt it was necessary to do so. Without the forfeit, we would only have been able to play a 9-game season. Without playing the originally scheduled 10-game season, our opportunity to qualify for the playoffs or be seeded appropriately could have been impacted. We are not seeking the $2,500 restitution payment. We sincerely regret that we were not able to play the scheduled game against New Hanover. Please know that we made every effort to avoid a forfeit.”
This decision is being upheld by the governing body of North Carolina high school sports, the NCHSAA.
Here is their statement to WWAY about the situation:
“The NCHSAA had conversations with the administration at both schools and we encouraged the school, as we always do in these situations, to work things out between themselves. While we are sympathetic to New Hanover in this situation, if the schools are not able to mutually agree to make the game a no-contest, then the terms stipulated in the contract must be followed.”
Now, New Hanover will take 2 losses from last week, and the Wildcats are 1-2. Their game week 1 was cancelled because of COVID-19 protocols within their own program, and that game has not been officially ruled on yet as a cancellation or a postponed game. New Hanover has also had to cancel their game this week against Fike in order to stay within accordance of the NCHSAA 10-game maximum limit for the regular season.
New Hanover will take the field next on September 17th, when they will host North Brunswick to begin Mid Eastern Conference play.