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Gowanda Explains Reason For Forfeit

GOWANDA — The decision by Gowanda Central School to forfeit its scheduled Class C South varsity football game Friday night against Southwestern was made “due to the number of injuries sustained on the varsity team,” according to Joseph Bruening, the district’s athletic director.

In a letter sent to parents Tuesday and posted to Twitter on Wednesday, Bruening said the “decision was not made lightly.”

“We looked at options like filling the varsity roster with ninth and 10th graders, (but) bringing underclassmen up to a varsity game poses significant safety issues,” he wrote. “We will not compromise the safety of our student/athletes. At this time we are planning to continue the rest of the season as our injured players become cleared to participate.”

Bruening noted that Friday night was supposed to be Senior Night. Plans are underway to hold it at the junior varsity game against Springville on Oct. 15.

“I understand that this is not the ideal situation to recognize our senior athletes,” he added. “We are trying to make the best out of a bad situation and feel it is important to honor our seniors who have put a great deal of time and effort into the football program at Gowanda Central.”

Meanwhile, Southwestern, which with the forfeit is 6-0 overall and 5-0 in Class C South, will now close out its regular season against Cassadaga Valley/Falconer on Oct. 18 at Charles A. Lawson Field.

“I definitely wasn’t expecting to have a bye week during a seven-week season,” said Trojans’ interim coach Jake Burkholder on Tuesday night. “It’s good for us, with the coaching changes (following the resignation of Jehuu Caulcrick), to have time to iron things out. … We’ll potentially go out and see some games we wouldn’t have seen, especially not having access to Class C North — that’s definitely on the radar.”

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