Western Nebraska Observer - Observations all along the line - Kimball & the Southern Panhandle First

Banner County cancels remainder of football season


Injuries and lack of participation have ended the Banner County High School football season prematurely, and could put its future in doubt.

Banner County activities director Kari Gifford confirmed Monday that the school canceled the remaining six games on its 2015 schedule. She said the school would see if the program could continue in the future.

“We will reevaluate our numbers and our interest level to see if we can try again,” Gifford said. “Due to participation numbers and injuries, we were unable to continue this year.”

Banner opened the season Sept. 4 with a 25-0 loss at Maywood/Hayes Center. The Wildcats’ six-man team had seven eligible players on the trip. One player was lost in the game due to a concussion, while another player continued to play with an injury. Head coach Brady Cross decided to forfeit the game at halftime.

Cross last week expressed hope that seven players would be ready for the next scheduled game, which was due to be Friday at Wauneta-Palisade. Charles Jones, Banner County principal, said Tuesday the team was down to six players and there were at least a couple injuries among that number.

Jones said there were several meetings before the decision was made to cancel the season. He said the players themselves met several times, and the players also met with the coaches. The principal said he and Gifford also met with the players and coaches before the final decision was made.

“It was a tough decision for everyone, but it was one that we felt had to be made,” Jones said. “I know it’s something that is really tough on the kids and the community. It wasn’t a decision that was made lightly.”

The fall schedule will remain unchanged outside the football schedule’s cancellation, Jones said. Homecoming week will remain Oct. 5-9 with homecoming set for Oct. 9. The volleyball matches scheduled for the same date and location as football games will remain unchanged, and the school’s junior high football program will continue to play its schedule.

Jones expressed optimism about the high school football program continuing next season. He said school officials will start the evaluation process early in the winter to determine what interest is there among high school students and eighth grade students who would play on the team.

“We’ll have to see what the numbers look like,” Jones said. “We’re planning on playing next year.”


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