Middle school football team perplexed by forfeits - WKRN News 2

Middle school football team perplexed by forfeits

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Coach Maurice Fitzgerald says he's perplexed by the forfeits. Coach Maurice Fitzgerald says he's perplexed by the forfeits.
Carrington Seay is the team's 6th grade captain. Carrington Seay is the team's 6th grade captain.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -

It's a middle school football team that nobody wants to play.

The seventh and eighth grade team at Smithson Craighead Charter School, a Metro charter school in Madison, has had two games so far this season and both opponents have canceled.

The Smithson Craighead Eagles are a very good middle school football program. The team, led by head coach Maurice Fitzgerald, has won two city championships in the last three years.

Still, Fitzgerald says he's perplexed by the forfeits, saying it not only cheats his kids, but cheats the players of the opposing teams.

Of the four games left on the Eagles schedule, Coach Fitzgerald says he only expects two to teams to actually show up and play

The coach, who is also the dean of students at Smithson Craighead, says he's heard all kinds of excuses, but none of them seem legitimate.

"It's very frustrating.  I cannot motivate the kids.  It's like a test and you prepare, and you are suppose to have that test on Friday and then the teacher comes in and says we won't be taking that test today," he explained, adding, "You see the deflation in the kids and their attitude drops and it is hard to motivate them to even practice.  You see their heads drop and their hearts drop too.  It's unfair because they worked so hard to participate and it's unfair to their families who have bought equipment, and in the end we all lose.  Everyone loses.  The other team loses too. What can you teach them?"

In addition to the 45 kids who play on the team, Coach Fitzgerald says it's also about sixth grade captain Carrington Seay.

The 11-year-old is plagued by medical issues and doesn't get to play, but flips the coin at the start of each game.

It means a great deal to him but he doesn't get to do that when there are forfeits.

Roosevelt Sanders is athletic director for all Metro schools.

He told Nashville's News 2 Investigates other middle school principals say the Eagles are that good they not only embarrass teams but there's a safety issue where some players get hurt and cannot field a team for the following week's game.

He adds there is nothing in the bylaws that prevents a team from forfeiting against another team.

Andy Cordan is following this story and will have more tonight on Nashville's News 2 at 6 p.m.

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