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Prep drops next game

Football: With injuries depleting roster, Rebels bow out of Campbell Hall contest.

September 19, 2011|By Grant Gordon, grant.gordon@latimes.com

Since opening its 2011 season with a nonleague victory over Bellarmine-Jefferson, the Flintridge Prep football team's fortunes have taken a decidedly downward turn.

A pair of lopsided losses coincided with a mounting rash of injuries to a squad that began the season with only 19 players on the roster.

And on Monday, Prep Coach Antonio Harrison talked to his team and sent out a press release, as he made the decision to cancel the Rebels' upcoming Saturday contest against Campbell Hall that was set for 1 p.m. at Occidental College. Harrison's decision came as he would have had 12 or 13 players able to suit up for the game with one of them being a kicker.

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"It was incredibly hard, slash, incredibly easy," said Harrison of the decision. "I know if I asked those 12 or 13 kids to go out and play on Saturday, they'd go and give me everything they've got. … When it boils down to putting them on the field with a team that has more than 30 kids, I'm not gonna put them in danger's way. It's like feeding them to the wolves."

CIF Director of Communications Thom Simmons confirmed that the game would be ruled a forfeit, meaning the Rebels will drop to 1-3 on the season. A fourth consecutive loss could also be in the cards, as Harrison said the team might be forced to forfeit its Oct. 1 nonleague game at Malibu.

After a 49-13 loss to St. Genevieve on Sept. 9, the Rebels were defeated by Grace Brethren, 48-0, on Friday in a game in which the team began with 17 players, but by the third quarter had only a kicker as a reserve player. During one sequence in the game, Harrison said he realized just how dire the Rebels' predicament had become when, on four consecutive plays, the Rebels were on defense, a point-after team, a kicking team and offense and a single player didn't leave the field.

"I had guys so out of position, I couldn't even call plays," Harrison said.

Among the most notable injuries is senior two-way starter Chris Wirthlin, who was lost after the team's first-week win over Bell-Jeff. After that, Kurt Kocazik took over running back duties, but he was injured against Grace Brethren.

Wirthlin has no timetable for a return, according to Harrison, but the coach said the best-case scenario is likely six weeks as he's battling a knee injury. Another Rebel has been lost for the season, but after that, Kocazik's high-ankle sprain is the most severe.

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