Earlier this season, Archbishop Walsh in Olean didn't have enough players to field a varsity football team, so the school decided it would compete on a junior varsity basis only this season.
Last week, the numbers game that is plaguing teams at small schools across Western New York caught up with the Cardinal O'Hara Hawks.
With only 15 healthy players, three fewer than the minimum mandated by state rules, O'Hara had to cancel its game against Msgr. Martin Association rival Timon/St. Jude that was to have been played last Friday.
"We had a couple of kids injured for our first game of the season against St. Mary's of Lancaster (a 42-8 loss), so we were three kids short for Timon," said first-year O'Hara coach Sam Scime. "We have had a couple of kids come out recently, but they did not have enough practices in to be able to play, so with only 15 eligible, healthy players, we had no choice but to call off the game."
With his injured players back and a few newcomers eligible, Scime expects to have 21 players in uniform when the Hawks host Freedom Academy in a non-league game at 2 p.m. Saturday.
"I'm a little disappointed in the number of kids we've had come out," said Scime, who has coached in the MMA for the past 19 years. "We knew what we were getting into as a coaching staff because O'Hara had to forfeit a game last year for the same reason, but we're hoping to turn things around."
Scime said it is difficult to compete without the aid of freshman or junior varsity teams, but his immediate concern is to keep enough players on the roster to play the remainder of the schedule.
"Morale has been really high," he said. "The kids who are out there with us are working hard and are really dedicated. They've been a pleasure to coach and you can see that they're buying into the program.
"Football's in my blood. If we had 10 kids at a practice, I'd still be out there coaching."
Wolf in East's clothing
Who's afraid of the big, bad Wolf? When it comes to Williamsville East sophomore receiver Jeff Wolf, opposing defensive backs are shaking in their cleats.
Wolf set school records for catches (12) and receiving yards (281) last Thursday in his team's 29-27 loss to rival Williamsville South. He also scored three touchdowns.
His yardage total was the second-most in Western New York history behind the 300 by Joe Belforti of Maple Grove in 1982. His dozen catches tied for the fourth-highest total ever in WNY.
Wolf also contributed defensively with 10 tackles from his linebacker spot.
A class act
Blasdell restaurateur Dennis DiPaolo won the split club drawing last Saturday during the Lackawanna-Clarence football game and donated the $63 prize back to Lackawanna's senior class.