Area teams adjust football schedules due to cancellations

Justin Broughman Rich Cooley/Daily

For the second time in a week, a Northern Virginia school has canceled its football season.

Manassas Park High School announced on Tuesday night it was canceling its varsity football season due to a lack of football players. Central, Skyline, and Warren County announced on Wednesday that they have each made schedule changes due to Manassas Park canceling its season. Last week Park View announced it was canceling its varsity football season for the same reason. Central was also originally scheduled to play Park View as well.

Central Athletic Director Justin Broughman said that the Falcons will now play Brentsville at home on Sept. 21, which was originally supposed to be Central’s bye week. The Falcons will not play a game on Sept. 7 or 14. Central will take a forfeit from Park View and just play nine games. The Falcons will host Park View in a game on Sept. 11 with teams made up of 9th, 10, and 11th graders. However, the game will not count as a varsity game.

Broughman said as soon as they were aware that Manassas Park might not field a varsity team they began looking around for schools to play and Brentsville was a perfect fit. Brentsville was scheduled to play Manassas Park on Nov. 2 but will now use that date as its bye week.

“It’s worked out pretty well,” Broughman said. “I know coach (Mike) Yew is very happy with the schedule that we have now.”

Broughman said that they considered picking up another school to replace Park View, but couldn’t find one that was a good fit for them.

Warren County will host Western Albemarle on Oct. 19, which will be homecoming for the Wildcats. Warren County Athletic Director Ed Dike said he’s known Western Albemarle Athletic Director Steve Heon for many years and when he saw that Park View was originally scheduled to play Western Albemarle on Oct. 19 he knew it was a no-brainer.

“We were real, real lucky,” Dike said. “The only thing we really had to switch was the (junior varsity) game and that goes from a Thursday to a Wednesday because they play their JV games down there on Wednesday.”

Dike said he felt like Western Albemarle was a good fit for the Wildcats.

“They’re a little bigger than us, we’re one of the smaller (Class 3) programs,” Dike said. “They have very similar type of kids. I used to be in that (Jefferson) district. Western Albemarle was always a pretty solid team at all sports. They’re not slacking at any sport. They come up here and wrestle in our tournament every year.”

Things also worked out well for Skyline. The Hawks were supposed to host Manassas Park on Oct. 12, but will now have a bye week on that date. Instead, the Hawks will host George Mason on Sept. 21, which was the day that George Mason was supposed to play Manassas Park.

Skyline Athletic Director Bill Cupp said that the George Mason game will be homecoming for the Hawks. Originally the Manassas Park game was supposed to be homecoming.

“It does put us at a little bit of a bind homecoming-wise getting all the preparations done that we would normally have two or three more weeks to work on,” Cupp said. “But once I was made aware that this was a possibility I made the calls to the sponsors in charge of homecoming to make them aware – and we’ll make it work.”

George Mason will be in the same district – Class 3 Northwestern – as Skyline next year, and so Cupp said it seemed like a great fit for the Hawks.

“That was another easy selling point was, hey we’re going to play each other next year, so we might as well start now,” Cupp said. “It just kind of worked out – we got lucky.”

Manassas Park Athletic Director Dan Forgas informed all of the schools on Manassas Park’s schedule last week that canceling the season might be a possibility, which allowed all of the schools to work on adjusting their schedules.

On Tuesday night, Manassas Park Principal Pamela Kalso put a post on the Manassas Park City Schools’ Facebook page stating that the season had been canceled. In the post, Kalso stated that the team was averaging only 15 players per practice.

The post also stated that Manassas Park would try to phase the varsity program back in over the next two years by playing a limited, independent schedule. The Cougars play in the Class 3 Northwestern District, with Warren County and Skyline and next year Central will also be joining the district. Dike said that he already had Warren County’s football schedule set-up for the next two years, but may have to look at finding a game in place of Manassas Park, depending on what the Cougars do.

Dike said he hates seeing any football program go downhill, and he feels bad for the players.

“I played football since I was in fourth grade, all the way up to a couple years after college and I coached for years,” Dike said. “Golly gee, I love the game of football and I think it does a lot to building a person up physically and mentally and spiritually and everything. And daggone it, I hate to see these kids not to have an opportunity to do it. I feel bad for those kids in Manassas Park.”