N.B. high school football team wins yet again due to injuries on opposing team

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Another high school football game in New Brunswick has ended in a forfeit due to injuries, and while there has been a recent focus on head injuries in the sport, parents from both teams said nothing during the game appeared to be amiss.

A playoff game between Sackville’s Tantramar Titans and Dieppe’s École Mathieu-Martin Matadors was cut short at half time. Mathieu-Martin headed into the game with the odds already stacked against them.

Plagued with injuries, the team only had 24 players dressed for Saturday’s game, the minimum required to field a team. Following an injury in second half of the game, the Dieppe squad was forced to throw in the towel.

The decision to end the game early wasn’t without controversy. While the coaches of both teams met with referees on the field, Tantramar’s coach appeared frustrated while speaking.

Tantramar Scott O'Neal

Tantramar Titans coach appeared frustrated while speaking to referees during an on-field discussion following the injury. (Radio-Canada)

This isn’t the first time this season the Tantramar Titans have won a game due to injuries on the opposing side. Three weeks ago, a game between the Sackville team and École L’Odyssée Olympiens ended after several players on the Moncton team suffered head injuries.

A New Brunswick Interscholastic Athletic Association review of that game cleared the Tantramar squad of breaking any rules. Still, the move to end the game over concussion concerns was roundly praised.

Following this latest win with a forfeiture, some Tantramar parents were upset at how their players were being portrayed.

Christine O’Neal football

Sackville parent Christine O’Neal said she’s upset that her son’s team is being demonised when she said it is just playing technical football. (Radio-Canada)

“The Titans and the head coach were portrayed as bullies,” said Christine O’Neal, whose son Owen plays for Tantramar. “They’re not bullies, they just train, practice hard and go out and play football.”

O’Neal said her son’s team shouldn’t be demonized for playing good, technical football.

“I didn’t see anything that was done wrong in the game,” she said. “It’s football, there’s hits, there’s often injuries, people choose to play the game.”

A Matador player’s father agreed that nothing appeared to go wrong during the game. René Melanson said the Sackville team was simply the superior team on the field Saturday.

“They are more physical than most of the teams in the league and they are being discriminated for it,” said Melanson. “Some unnecessary roughness may occur, that’s the refs job, not ours.”

football tackle

École Mathieu-Martin’s athletic director Luc Leblanc said the school would be reviewing its football program following the season. (Radio-Canada)

École Mathieu-Martin’s athletic director said there were some concerns heading into the game, but not because of who they were playing. Luc Leblanc said 18 players on his team were injured, leaving mostly second-string players to pick up the slack.

Still, Leblanc said his students should be proud, following another rebuilding year. But with only win under their belts and a high amount of injuries, Leblanc said the football program will need to be looked at.

“We need to sit down, the whole coaching staff to reevaluate the season that we’ve been through,” said Leblanc.

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N.B. high school football team wins yet again due to injuries on opposing team

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