Shady Side Academy will forfeit football game against Apollo-Ridge

Monday, September 23, 2019 | 1:57 PM

Citing a lack of healthy players, Shady Side Academy notified Apollo-Ridge on Monday that it will forfeit this week’s football game.

Shady Side athletic director Gene Deal called the decision heartbreaking.

The Indians started the season with 23 names on the roster but finished last week’s game with only 14 healthy players, Deal said, a total that included a handful of freshmen.

The team is missing seven starters to injury, he added, and is particularly thin on the offensive and defensive lines.

“We’re worried about the kids we have,” Deal said. “We don’t want to put them in an unhealthy situation.”

The game was scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday at Owens Field in Apollo.

“We were caught a little off guard,” Apollo-Ridge football coach John Skiba said, “but I know from watching (Shady Side) film, you could see different guys each week and it looked like they were getting thinner and thinner standing on the sideline. So it wasn’t a big surprise.”

The game would’ve been a key matchup in the Class 2A Allegheny Conference, where Shady Side Academy (3-1, 2-0) is second and Apollo-Ridge (4-1, 2-1) is third.

The night also is homecoming for Apollo-Ridge.

“I feel terrible for them,” Deal said. “I’m a big believer in, if you say you’re going to do it, you do it. I have the greatest respect for (the Apollo-Ridge) program and some of the great games we’ve had through the years. Believe me, we didn’t make this decision lightly.”

Apollo-Ridge won’t have a football game Friday but will hold all other homecoming festivities, the school announced on Twitter. Superintendent Matthew Curci said the school district considered postponing homecoming but the next two games are on the road.

“We feel badly about missing this opportunity,” said Curci, a former football player at the school. “We will still have our homecoming parade and community tailgate. The band will perform on the field at 7 p.m. and we will crown a queen and recognize the (homecoming) court. There will be no admission (fee) and the concession stands will be opened.”

Deal said football coach Chuck DiNardo was hopeful over the weekend that a few injured players might be ready in time. Shady Side had dressed around 18 players for most games this season.

“He said, ‘Give me until today to piece something together,’” said Deal, but they agreed Monday that the team wasn’t in position to play.

Shady Side isn’t the first WPIAL school to forfeit this season. Bishop Canevin forfeited to Our Lady of the Sacred Heart in Week 4 because it didn’t have enough healthy players.

In Week 1, Northgate’s administration announced that it would forfeit to McGuffey to avoid injuries. However, once McGuffey scheduled Clairton to fill that open week, Northgate traveled to Norwalk, Ohio, and played St. Paul High School instead.

Deal was optimistic that Shady Side would return to the field next week but couldn’t make any guarantees. There are two players with ankle injuries that might return soon, but others could be out for a while.

“We’re hoping but I don’t know,” Deal said. “We’ll do what we can do to finish the season.”

Chris Harlan is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Chris by email at or via Twitter .

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