Lawrence Academy is an elite private school with an equally elite football roster. The Spartans play in the highly competitive ISL (Independent Scholastic League) against some of the Northeast’s (and nation’s) most prestigious private and boarding schools. And, like many of its ISL counterparts, Lawrence Academy also features elite sports programs, including a football team that was expected to compete with some of the league’s best, thanks in part to some elite recruits.
Muse isn’t alone; Lawrence Academy has a handful of players who could wind up as Division I FBS recruits. Unfortunately for the Spartans, they don’t have too many other players, as they’re now on the verge of forfeiting a contest for the second time in the month of October because of dwindling participation numbers.
Boston Herald high school sports editor Danny Ventura first reported news of Lawrence Academy’s planned forfeit against Belmont Hill School due to “low numbers.” That forfeit would follow on the heels of the school’s October 3 white flag against Governor’s Academy.
“Much like the Governor’s game, it’s just a matter of low numbers,” Lawrence Academy coach Jason Swepson told the Herald. “We had some kids get hurt last week and we’re hoping to get them ready for Milton Academy next week.”
To say that this is virtually unprecedented would be an understatement. Lawrence Academy has captured four straight ISL titles and three New England Bowl Championships during those four ISL champion seasons. They’re practically the New England Patriots of the current ISL.
So how did the Spartans fall on such tough times? That’s a mystery even they don’t seem to have a firm grasp on. Some of it is a health issue, but the team’s dwindling numbers aren’t solely down to injured players.
There are larger issues at play here, and it remains to be seen when they’re adequately addressed, or when the Spartans can return to full strength, on the field or off.