The Lower Cape May Regional High School football team will sacrifice Friday's game against St. Augustine Prep in hopes of saving its season.
The Caper Tigers are ravaged by injuries and a low number of players. They will forfeit the contest.
"It was a hard decision," Lower athletic director Mark Schiffbauer said. "The kids are devastated. I'm of the mentality if it's on the schedule it's meant to be won. But we had to make a decision to heal, get better and move on."
St. Augustine (2-0) is the defending Cape-Atlantic League National Conference champion and No. 4 in The Press' Elite 11. Lower (1-1) hopes to return to the field Oct. 2 against Bridgeton (1-1) and play its seven other remaining games. The Caper Tigers have lost 21 straight. They opened last Friday with a 54-6 loss to Holy Spirit. Lower dressed 18 players, not counting freshmen, for that game.
Several players are injured. Schiffbauer said Lower would have dressed the same number of players against St. Augustine but lacked depth at key positions because of the injuries.
"We have one running back," Schiffbauer said. "If he gets hurt, we have nobody to put in."
Lower does have 21 freshmen. The plan, according to Schiffbauer, is keep that group together and build toward the future. Lower coach Mike Wilson could not be reached for a comment. St. Augustine athletic director Tony Iaconelli said he understood Lower's predicament.
"We're sympathetic to Lower's situation," Iaconelli said, "and we'll deal with it accordingly."
Lower Cape May is a Group II school for football with a sophomore through senior class enrollment of 802, according to the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Lower has the largest enrollment of any South Jersey Group II school.
Teams have forfeited in the past because of a lack of players. Clayton, a Group I school, forfeited its opener to Middle Township last season.
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