MURTAUGH, Idaho (AP) — One by one, players for a tiny southern Idaho school's football team fell victim to injury — so many, in fact, that by the third quarter, Murtaugh High School didn't have enough healthy boys to continue.
Not only did Murtaugh forfeit that game two weeks ago at Rimrock High School, but the tiny high school decided that it would concede its final two games, as well.
The Times-News reports that Murtaugh athletic director Clete Edmunson said there were just too many health concerns — too many fears about the toll of this rough sport on a bruised, dwindling line-up — that finishing out the season was deemed inappropriate.
Murtaugh started the Rimrock game on Sept. 21 with 12 players, but halfway through was down to just six healthy athletes — too few to continue.
Currently, only seven players are healthy; four more are injured but could possibly play. The team hasn't practiced the past two weeks, which raised concerns about playing a game in four days without proper preparation.
"I would love to finish out this season," said junior Tyson Wilkins, who figures that only he and a few others would be enthusiastic to play the final two games. "The others, it would take a lot of persuasion to get them out to play. But they wouldn't come out and play their full heart into the game, that's the one problem that we face with some of the kids that were hurt."
Consequently, Murtaugh — which plays eight-man football, against other small Idaho schools from the state's mostly-rural hinterlands — won't play this Friday against a team from Sho-Ban High School in Pocatello or against Castleford on Oct. 19.
Given that so few players have turned out for the Murtaugh team, some including Wilkins would like to go together with another school next season, to help ensure there's no repeat of this season's result.
Wilkins is one of four juniors on the team, along with two seniors, three sophomores and three freshmen.
Edmunson figures if Murtaugh decides to go forward with a co-op, there is no shortage of potential suitors: A handful of schools have already voiced interest, including Hansen, Valley and Oakley.
"I feel like the pretty girl at the dance," Edmunson said.
A decision probably won't be made for a couple of months, said Murtaugh High principal Tom Standley.
Information from: The Times-News