Archbishop Murphy High School’s football team has six players over 250 pounds, and three who weigh more than 300. The team has won its first three games by a combined score of 170-0.
So far, three schools have refused to play them — the most recent school, Granite Falls High, says it’s a safety concern.
In response to the latest forfeit, school leaders and the Archbishop Murphy High School football team held a press conference Wednesday to give their response.
“It’s really hard to practice four days a week and then not play on a Friday and watch all your friends play on Fridays,” said Anfernee Gurley, an Archbishop Murphy High School senior and running back for the team.
Gurley and fellow senior Abraham Lucas say they looked forward to their final season of high school football. But after blowing out teams to start the season, the next three teams forfeited games against them.
“It definitely is frustrating, though,” said Lucas. “We just want to play. It’s a sport that we love to play, so we just want to play.”
“Hopefully, we enact change on the state level, on the conference level, that doesn’t allow teams to forfeit three days before the game,” said Archbishop Murphy Coach Jerry Jensen at the Wednesday news conference.
Stacey Morris, whose son is a freshman on the Granite Falls team, says she supports the decision to forfeit the game.
She was worried about her son, who is 5-feet-8-inches tall, going up against a player like Lucas, who is a foot taller.
“They outweigh us, they out-man us, everything,” said Morris. “Our kids are not afraid to lose, but they’re using common sense, saying if someone gets hurt then we have no team. We (can’t) replace them.”
Regardless of why, Archbishop Murphy High School says this forfeit means two teams lost this Friday, not one.
“We’ve got to show these kids that you move onto the next step,” said Jensen. “You improve yourself and go to the next step and that’s how we’re going to handle it.”
Archbishop Murphy High says it has two more conference games and one non-conference game left, with homecoming scheduled for next week. They say they don’t have reason to believe any other schools are planning to forfeit.