Warriors cancel football

Wednesday, October 30, 2002 -

Mike Morrow

The Times-Standard

Baffled by what he called "a total lack of commitment" from a handful of players on the Hoopa High School football team, Warriors athletic director Zack Retallac has announced the school would forfeit the remainder of his varsity games this season.

Retallac, in his first year at the school, said he regretted the decision "but, obviously, there are individuals who just don't care."

However, Retallac said that the school's junior varsity program would continue, and that three sophomore players, including starting quarterback Keoki Burbank, would be allowed to play on the junior varsity for the rest of the season.

Nine Hoopa players were suspended last week for missing two days of practice. The suspension forced the Warriors to forfeit their game with South Fork. The team was supposed to have played at Ferndale this Saturday.

"I have been in athletics for five years now and I never have seen so many quitters," said Retallac. "Is it wrong to ask them to come to practice? Heck, these individuals didn't even want to come to school.

"Each of these players stood before the administration, before their parents, and said they were not going to play. It is very unfortunate, but they have made their decision. And this could be something that drags them down for the rest of their lives."

Retallac said the players, some of whom also have poor attendance records at the school, stood their ground at the meeting, which lasted about an hour. The school and administration, he said, gave the players every chance to return to the program.

"The junior varsity program stands as is," said Retallac. "We will field a team for the remainder of the season."

Retallac said the administration outlined possible alternatives to those attending the meeting, but "it was obvious these players are not interested in anyone but themselves."

Steve Burbank, the team's coach, earlier had said he had hoped that the program could be salvaged.

Hoopa is winless (with one tie) in six games, having been outscored 206-60; in its most recent four games, the Warriors have been outscored 158-20.

"This was simply a disciplinary decision on our part," said Burbank. "It is very disappointing, but the players know the rules and they are expected to follow them."

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