When Johnsburg football coach Mike Maloney decided to cancel last week's sophomore game after injuries dwindled the Skyhawks' roster down to 11, players weren't surprised, saying they saw the move coming the smaller the team got.
But as excited as five sophomores were to make their varsity debut last Friday against McHenry, each of them hoped to be back with their teammates this week.
As it turns out, they won't be for the rest of the season.
Johnsburg athletic director Trevor Leopold said Wednesday that he had not only canceled Friday's game with Crystal Lake Central, but contacted Woodstock on Wednesday to cancel next week's regular-season finale, ending the sophomore season.
Leopold said between freshmen and sophomores, there were only 11 players healthy enough to compete.
"We decided that made it impossible for us to field a team," Leopold said.
Maloney said the decision to cancel Friday's game had been made Tuesday and that the underclassmen who dressed with the varsity last week will remain on the roster. All five expressed hope the enough players would return to put the sophomores back on the field.
“I hope there is (a sophomore team) – people have been getting injured with concussions and stuff, but everyone comes back,” sophomore receiver and defensive end Haden Franzen said last week. “This week (the varsity) needed players and I’m here to help, but next week, I hope there’s a sophomore team because I like being with my family.”
Maloney canceled last week's game after losing three sophomore players to season-ending injuries in the previous two weeks while others were dealing with post-concussion syndrome. The team was also short-handed due to some players who Maloney said hadn’t been accountable to the program or their teammates by not showing up to practice two days after a 64-0 loss to Hampshire.
The sophomore team was 0-6 before the cancellation of its final three games.