Northside’s football team won its first game on the 2020-21 season Monday night.
The next day the Vikings took their third loss.
Northside decided Tuesday to forfeit Friday’s scheduled Blue Ridge District game against Lord Botetourt, leaving the Vikings with a final 1-3 regular-season record and clinging to hopes of a Region 3D playoff berth.
Northside coach Scott Fisher said that after Monday’s 28-13 victory at William Byrd, the Vikings do not have enough healthy linemen to compete against undefeated Botetourt.
“I lost three offensive linemen [Monday] night,” Fisher said. “I’ve got three healthy varsity linemen.
“I told them regardless of who we’re playing, I just don’t have enough linemen to play a varsity football game.”
Northside’s ranks already were thinned by a number of players who transferred out of the program to other schools, including several to Lord Botetourt.
“At this point, all of our senior offensive linemen are playing somewhere else,” Fisher said.
Fisher said he told Northside’s administration with a request to forfeit the game.
“It was my call to the [athletic director] and the principal,” he said. “They concurred.”
Lord Botetourt will take a 6-0 record into the Region 3D playoffs as the No. 1 seed although the Cavaliers will be one of 10 Timesland teams that did not play a full six-game schedule in a season delayed and shortened by COVID-19.
“I’m the one who told our players,” Lord Botetourt athletic director Chuck Pound said. “I said, ‘I know you’re disappointed, but this gives you a chance to rest up, heal up and get ready for the first round of the playoffs.’
“I understand. Both of us, obviously, would like to play it in some ways. In other ways, for both of us, it might be a blessing in disguise.”
Northside stands No. 4 in the latest VHSL Rating Scale points standings, but Christiansburg could move into the No. 4 spot if a number of dominoes fall the Blue Demons’ way this week.
If Northside gets the No. 4 spot, the Vikings would play at Lord Botetourt in the first round. Fisher said if the Vikings do not make the playoffs, they plan to play in the extra “plus-one” game the VHSL is allowing for teams that do not qualify for the postseason.
“I’ll play, I just can’t play this Friday,” he said. “We have two guys with concussions. We should have at least one of those guys back. I think we should have six [linemen].
“If we make the playoffs, our intentions are to play it. If we don’t, our intentions are to play a plus-one game.”