The pomp and circumstance of a Senior Night will be taking place at Millbrook High School Friday.
A ceremony for the football players and cheerleaders will be viewed by a crowd of supporters. It’s ‘Pink Out’ night, which means donations will be accepted for the Miles of Hope Breast Cancer Foundation.
But, one key ingredient to the affair will be missing: a football game.
Eldred, the Blazers’ opponent for their game, announced on Thursday it needed to forfeit due to an insufficient number of players. Eldred’s forfeit left the Millbrook players and coaches upset, scrambling to find an alternative to a football game.
The players came up with the idea of a charity walk, which will now be taking place in the game’s stead. The Blazers, along with anyone else that chooses to participate, will walk three miles (12 laps) around the football field’s track and raise money for breast cancer awareness.
“Since we had such short notice we wanted to do some sort of sports thing. (Possibly) Get a faculty vs. students game, but logistically that wouldn’t work,” said Tim Outwater, a Millbrook senior tackle and captain. “It’s really disappointing to not have one last game on our field. It’s super upsetting.”
The Blazers, the defending Section 9 Class C champions, who have secured the second seed for the playoffs, will visit Fallsburg at 7 p.m. on Oct. 23. They will then face third-seeded Chester at noon on Saturday, Oct. 31 at Middletown’s Faller Field in a sectional semifinal — a match Outwater is already looking forward to.
“I think the team is ready and pumped up to play,” Outwater said. “Make another championship run.”
Still, Millbrook coach Sean Keenan was as perturbed as his Blazers, who entered the week at 5-1.
“I go back to when I was in high school and college and how I’d feel, and I’d be upset,” said Keenan, who played at Our Lady of Lourdes and Marist. “Our players were mad. The seniors look forward to this game. Now it’s taken away from the kids and the school because of a cowardly act.”
Keenan said Evan Mullen, Eldred’s coach, stated last week that he would have enough able players to field a team. Keenan said Eldred informed Millbrook athletic director Bill Blayney at 10 a.m. Thursday it could not play the game.
“They had 23 kids for their game on Saturday. All of a sudden they have 14. I watched their film and I didn’t see anyone get hurt during the game or hear anything about kids getting suspended. If one-third of your kids become academically ineligible all of a sudden, then that’s a bigger issue,” Keenan said.
Blayney said he is hoping the walk raises “several hundred dollars” and is proud the football team came up with a good alternative.
“I think it speaks volumes to the coaching staff and also the fact that these kids have their priorities straight,” Blayney said.
“It’s good to still be able to make something worthwhile out of it,” said Keenan, who added that his team volunteers at the Ryan McElroy Children’s Cancer Foundation at an event at Walbridge Farm in Millbrook in the spring.
“It’s a community activity and all the families support the team.”