High School Sports

Injuries cause Philipsburg-Osceola to forfeit remainder of varsity football season

The Philipsburg-Osceola Mounties are forfeiting the remainder of their varsity football season, ending with a 1-7 record.

According to Superintendent Dr. Gregg Paladina and Athletic Director Bob Mann, the coaches and school’s principal met with the booster club and parents Sunday night. They decided to cancel the season for player safety purposes. The team had eight players available with varsity experience and the rest of the roster was filled with freshmen.

“We started with 38 kids, and we’re currently down to 21,” Mann said. “And of the 21 we have left, they are either freshmen or have never set foot on a varsity field.”

On Monday, Clearfield football announced on Twitter that this weekend’s game was canceled. Scheduled to play the Clearfield Bison on Friday, the team would have been playing for its 600th program win. Due to the cancellation, the Bison will earn the victory via forfeit.

“It was a very somber, sad meeting,” Head Coach Brian McGonigal said. “But everybody was in complete agreement.”

P-O’s varsity football team has seen a series of injuries this season. Going into its September game against Central, quarterback Ryan Whitehead was out due to an ankle injury, and lineman David Weaver had an abdomen injury. By halftime, two more starters went down — wide receiver Hunter Weitoish and lineman Garrett Bloom.

At the end of the game, McGonigal told the CDT that the team had “whittled down to nothing.”

McGonigal said that following Friday’s game against the Huntingdon Bearcats, the team was down four more players, putting injuries into double digits.

“We don’t want to put kids out there that aren’t ready for that,” Mann said, adding that the district doesn’t want any more players to get hurt. “This is just what we feel is in the best interest of our kids.”

Penns Valley Area School District announced the cancellation in a Facebook post on Monday. The Rams were scheduled to play at P-O for their last game of the season.

“Philipsburg-Osceola is forfeiting their remaining varsity football schedule,” said the Penns Valley post. “There may be a chance to find another opponent for Oct. 25, which was designated as senior night for the football team. Stay tuned.”

McGonigal said he hopes the team will focus on getting stronger and healthier so that they can heal in time for the winter and spring sports seasons.

Reporter Jon Sauber contributed to this report.

Marley Parish reports on local government for the Centre Daily Times. She grew up in Slippery Rock and graduated from Allegheny College.