Does Size Matter? In This Case…. YES!
Lawrence Academy expected to have a few easy wins on its football schedule this fall, but St. George’s put up even less of a fight than anticipated.
St. George’s has withdrawn from Friday’s game against the Independent School League juggernaut, citing health concerns because of the mismatch in size between the teams’ players.
“This is strictly a safety issue,’’ said St. George’s headmaster Eric Peterson. “We are trying to keep our kids reasonably safe in a game that can be terribly exciting but has risks.’’
“People don’t understand what schools like St. George’s are all about,’’ he said. “Our students are into much more than athletics. Athletic success is so secondary in a place like this.’’
Lawrence Academy has three starting linemen who weigh 300 pounds or more — Max Ricci (6 feet 5 inches, 350 pounds), Tyler Cardoze (6-4, 335), and Ryan Welch (6-2, 300). Several league coaches have cited the Spartans’ considerable size and talent, and the defending league champs have five players committed to Division 1 colleges.
Peterson said the decision was made after discussions with MacKay and Lawrence headmaster Scott Wiggins and athletic director Kathy Noble. Peterson said Lawrence attempted to make compromises, including “playing at only half-speed,’’ to keep everyone safe.
“It’s not fair to the Lawrence players to say ‘take it easy,’ ’’ said MacKay. “Lawrence would be better off practicing than playing St. George’s or St. Mark’s.’’
Lawrence (2-0) was undefeated last season and won every game but two by at least 40 points. The Spartans defeated St. George’s, 48-15, last season.
“We’re disappointed because kids want to play,’’ said Lawrence coach Mike Taylor. “This is a St. George’s decision, not our decision.’’
St. George’s had started 2-0 after a winless 2009. The decision to withdraw was made official prior to last week’s 26-14 victory over Nobles.
“The issue first came up last spring, then we talked about it off and on in the summer,’’ said Peterson. “By the time the roster was in place, it became pretty clear.’’
A steering committee of three headmasters will make the decision on how the withdrawal will be recorded.
Original Article By Mike Carraggi
Globe Correspondent / October 5, 2010