Too few players forced the Rappahannock County High School boys varsity basketball team to forfeit its Bull Run District contest with Strasburg last Friday (Jan. 14).
Midway through the fourth quarter, Panthers sophomore Isaac Berry fouled out. That left the team with just three players on the court. Senior David Williams had fouled out in the third quarter.
According to the rules of the Virginia High School League, which governs public school athletics, if a team has just three healthy players available, it must forfeit the game. The score is listed as 2-0.
Rappahannock County (0-11) began the game with just five players. The roster has seven players, but one was academically ineligible to suit up, while another had gotten in trouble at school and could not play.
“I know it’s discouraging for our kids,” head coach Terrence Johnson said, “but I can’t do anything about the rules.”
What concerns Johnson is that only seven players have been on the varsity roster this season. Many of the district teams have 12 to 14 players available for each game.
“For some reason, the gentlemen here are not interested in being student athletes,” he added. “When I coached middle school, I had 40 to 50 guys come out for the basketball team. Here, I can’t get 10 guys to come out.”
Strasburg employed a full-court press through the game, which contributed to Rappahannock County’s frustrations. Johnson, however, did not fault the Rams for their strategy.
“I don’t get mad at those teams that press us. They are doing their job,” he added. “Their coaches are preparing for their next game. It’s sad to say, but some teams probably treat us as practice.”
Despite the outcome, Johnson still remains positive in his approach toward coaching.
“I tell the kids that we need to keep fighting. I can’t get down on them,” he said. “We need to go out and have fun. How many teams will go out with four or five guys and play?”