A fourth team forfeits football game to Archbishop Murphy High; former opponent reflects

EVERETT, Wash. – Archbishop Murphy High School will not play its homecoming game after a fourth school announced it was forfeiting the scheduled contest.

Cedar Park Christian School in Bothell is the latest school to forfeit its football game, citing safety concerns. The forfeits have sparked statewide conversations about competitive equity.

The Washington Interscholastic Activities Association said it is looking at solutions to fix the competitive equity issue and plan to have a classification meeting at the end of this month in hopes that what we're seeing with Archbishop Murphy's season doesn't happen again.

Cedar Park Christian’s football players took to the field for practice Monday, even though they won’t be playing against Archbishop Murphy on Friday.

“We simply do not have enough players to play the game,” said Cedar Park’s superintendent, Dr. Clint Behrends. “We feel badly about not being able to play the game, and we understand from Archbishop Murphy’s perspective that has to be tremendously disappointing. It just comes down to what we feel is safety for our kids.”

Archbishop Murphy High School announced in a statement that despite the latest forfeit, homecoming festivities will go on. While their players won’t hit the field Friday, they’ll be cheering on alumni from the sidelines.

Archbishop Murphy hasn’t played a game in nearly a month after three shutouts, the first against Issaquah High School, winning 73 to 0. Issaquah mom Gretchen Aliabadi was there, but despite the loss, she doesn’t regret letting her son play in the game.

“What I saw from the team was that they never gave up,” said Aliabadi.

While she understands the concerns about safety, especially playing opponents bigger and stronger, she also believes there’s something to gain when facing a tough opponent.

“I think one of the most important lessons we can teach our kids is how to handle adversity that comes at them, so I was really proud of the boys,” said Aliabadi.

Archbishop Murphy school officials said it applied for a reclassification to a 1a/2a combination and the Wesco Conference instead of the Cascade Conference in hopes of achieving more competitive balance but said they were denied.

The school is set to play Olympic High School from Bremerton on October 21.