For the fourth consecutive week, the Archbishop Murphy High School football team will not have a Friday night game.
This week Cedar Park Christian-Bothell became the fourth Cascade Conference opponent to forfeit to the Wildcats, following earlier decisions by South Whidbey, Sultan and Granite Falls to do the same. Archbishop Murphy, which opened its season with three straight victories, has not played a game since Sept. 16.
Dr. Clint Behrends, the Cedar Park Christian superintendent, announced the forfeit in a press release.
In the release, Behrends said the school had “found itself caught in the middle of a rising controversy that has several legitimate viewpoints that are playing out in society. The school’s philosophy for initiating our football program was to teach young men loyalty, character, courage, commitment, and self-discipline in the face of adversity. These character qualities are valued throughout our entire school, and shared by our families.
“Yet, the larger issue of partnering with CPC parents and their concern over the safety of their sons has led Cedar Park Christian to forfeit the game (against Archbishop Murphy on Friday night).”
In the release, Behrends also said “Cedar Park Christian regrets the unfortunate controversy, confusion, and disappointment created by the forfeiture of our scheduled football game with Archbishop Murphy.”
In a resurgent program under fourth-year coach Jerry Jensen, Class 2A Archbishop Murphy has risen from a losing record in 2013 to become one of the state’s premier teams at any classification. A year ago the Wildcats went unbeaten until the state semifinals when they lost to Tumwater, and this season Archbishop Murphy opened with successive wins against Issaquah (73-0), Blanchet (59-0) and King’s (38-0).
Unfortunately for the Wildcats, they were unable to change to a more competitive conference in the past offseason. This season every league opponent except King’s has been unwilling to play Archbishop Murphy, a private school that can draw elite players from a large geographic area.
Like Cedar Park Christian, the previous three opponents said their forfeits were due to concerns about player safety given the Wildcats’ decided advantages in size, speed and strength.
With a fourth forfeit, the Wildcats have only two remaining games on their regular-season schedule — Oct 21. vs. Olympic (non-conference) and Oct. 28 vs. Cedarcrest. After that Archbishop Murphy would have a crossover game with a Northwest Conference team as a prelude to the state playoffs.
Neither Jensen, who is also the school’s athletic director, nor principal Alex Crane was available for comment on Tuesday.