STAFF WRITER JENNIFER FIERRO
MARBLE FALLS — Faith Academy of Marble Falls officials announced the decision to cancel the rest of the 2017 football season because they didn’t have enough players to field a team.
“These kids have given everything they have,” athletics director Randy Denton said. “I admire them more than our 10-0 teams because it’s not a lot of fun. You know there’s a slim chance of success. They’re feeling disappointed.”
The rash of injuries on the team, which began the season with 16 players, left school officials no choice but to cancel the rest of the games, Denton said.
“We had six key players who suffered injuries,” he said. “That turns your season into a difficult one.”
When officials looked at the roster, they thought there might be a chance to have 11 players suited up, but without a reserve to come in and give players a breather, it became a safety concern, Denton said.
“It’s not fair to send kids out there with just 11,” he said. “I wouldn’t do it to my kid. We’ve had more injuries this year than in the last two. It’s just one of those years with injuries.”
While injuries happen on the field every year, the way some of the players were hurt had coaches scratching their heads.
Such as what happened to senior center Issac Oliver, who was stacking chairs in The Fire Pit gymnasium after a volleyball match. Oliver slipped on a wet spot on the floor and injured his knee.
Or sophomore Will Wison, who practiced the day before a game and was in on three plays before breaking his arm to end his season.
“He probably had the shortest career in history,” Denton said.
The other part of the equation were the number of athletes who joined the team who had never played the sport or hadn’t played in several years, the athletics director said. Two of them, juniors Cameron Bowles and Payton Lackey, are athletes in other sports but saw their classmates needed help, Denton said.
Bowles set aside his basketball to pick up a pigskin for the first time ever, while Lackey, who is the reigning national champion bareback rider, carved out time in his rodeo schedule to play football.
“I’m trying to help my school and team,” Bowles said in late September. “I would want somebody from the football team to play basketball so I could have a season. I figured I wanted to get the experience coming out of high school.”
That attitude “is what Faith Academy is all about. It’s unfortunate we had so many season-ending injuries,” Denton said.
Denton emphasized the athletes wanted to play and even asked if they could still practice.
“That’s how dedicated they are,” he said. “Guys have played their tails off. They expected to come out and not pull the plug. In overseeing their safety, we felt like that was the only thing to do at this point.”