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The Raiders were left trying to decide what to do with players today following a last-minute forfeit by Norfolk Christian.
Saturday, November 2, 2013
The 2013 regular season ended earlier than planned for the North Cross football team on Friday as school administrators said Norfolk Christian will forfeit today’s scheduled game at Thomas Field.
North Cross headmaster Christian Proctor said Norfolk Christian officials informed him at 9:30 a.m. Friday that the team’s players had voted not to make the trip to Roanoke to face the Raiders.
North Cross had a 6-2 record before the forfeit, which will leave the Raiders at 7-2. Norfolk Christian will finish its season 3-7. North Cross ended the 2012 season with a 52-7 victory over the Ambassadors.
The two programs played each other in back-to-back VIS Division III championship games, with Norfolk Christian winning 29-14 in 2010 and the Raiders prevailing 26-13 the next year.
“We’ve had a great four-year run with Norfolk Christian,” Proctor said. “Their season is not going as well as they’d hoped in the beginning. There must have just been some dissension in terms of things that went on down there. The players chose not to get on the bus.
“The headmaster and the AD worked very hard down there to get the kids to play, and they refused to play.”
Proctor declined to go into further detail about what he was told by Norfolk Christian’s administration. The North Cross headmaster compared the situation to Grambling University’s forfeiture of a recent game against Jackson State.
“It’s very similar to Grambling,” Proctor said.
Norfolk Christian athletic director Mike Allen could not be reached for comment Friday afternoon.
The forfeit left North Cross with just eight regular-season games in 2013 and only two at home.
Standing on a freshly lined field that now will be unused , North Cross head coach Stephen Alexander said his players are extremely disappointed.
“It’s heartbreaking for the seniors,” said Alexander, who said he had no inkling of turmoil within the Norfolk Christian program. “When you call the day before the game, you can’t even think it’s real.
“My seniors are crushed. We had Senior Day activities at halftime, recognition. We have five seniors who were a big part of holding the program when we had extremely low numbers last year. Those guys kind of held it together for us. They’re heartbroken. I’m heartbroken for them.”
The forfeit is the second that the Raiders have received from an opponent in the past three seasons. Carlisle forfeited a scheduled game at North Cross in 2011 citing a lack of manpower.
“Carlisle gave us two weeks and knew they were going to be struggling with injuries,” Proctor said. “This is one where they called us at 9:30 this morning.”
Proctor said Norfolk Christian will not be subject to any penalties under Virginia Independent Schools rules. A forfeit in a Virginia High School League game carries an automatic fine.
“The VISAA does not have any sanctions in their rule book for forfeiture of a regular-season game,” Proctor said. “If you forfeit a playoff game, you are ineligible for the state playoffs the following year.”
Proctor said the forfeit will not affect North Cross’ standing in the VIS Division III playoff race. The Raiders either will be the No. 3 or No. 4 seed in the four-team bracket.
Alexander said the school is trying to scrounge up some tickets for the players to attend Virginia’s game in Charlottesville against Clemson today. The North Cross coach would rather be playing football.
“We’re pretty healthy,” Alexander said. “We had a bye week two weeks ago. I’d like to get out and play. Now, that’s not going to happen.”
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