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Bell-Jeff football tries to move forward after game cancellation

Guards have to scrap their first three games and will have an abbreviated season due to players joining the program late.

August 28, 2013|By Jeff Tully, jeff.tully@latimes.com
(Roger Wilson Staff…)

Being a former college football player, Bellarmine-Jefferson Principal Michael Stumph said it was a difficult decision to have to cancel a portion of the Guards season, as word about the cancellations were made official by the school on Wednesday via press release.

Stumph, who played as offensive guard at Indiana University from 1992-94, said although the administration had to scrap the program’s first three nonleague games to start the season, the school does plan to field a team. He added that in addition to a low turnout, the cancellations were due to players coming out for the team late for preseason practices and the athletes were just not prepared for competition.

"The decision that we had to make didn’t come lightly," said Stumph, who is in his first school year at Bell-Jeff. “But because we had players coming out late, we knew they just weren’t where they should be in terms of being prepared for the season.

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"We do have enough players now to field a team. I think there are 19 to 20 kids out there now. The coaches are doing their best now to get those players ready for the season."

Word of the cancellations came Wednesday afternoon in a press release from first-year coach Lance Fauria. In the release, Fauria began by emphasizing "Bellarmine-Jefferson will have a football team this season." However, the release also read that the school had to cancel its first three games and the problem of low numbers still lingers.

"We have been out there practicing and the kids we do have out have been working very hard," Fauria said. "We have had to look around the school for players to help fill out the team. But the big thing is with the enrollment at the school. We have to increase the enrollment at the school to get the numbers up."

Stemph agreed about the need to increase the school’s enrollment.

"This is something that we have to work hard to do," he said. "Hopefully we can add some classes and do other things to attract students to the school."

The enrollment at Bell-Jeff in 2011 was more than 300. That number has dipped below 200 this school year.

The Guards were scheduled to open their season Friday against North Hollywood. Also scrapped was the Sept. 6 game against Brentwood and the Sept. 14 contest against Bishop Montgomery.

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