High School Football

Small southeastern Kentucky school suspends football program

A photo from the Jenkins Cavaliers Football Facebook page, last updated in 2015, shows the team logo. Jenkins has had to suspend play this season.
A photo from the Jenkins Cavaliers Football Facebook page, last updated in 2015, shows the team logo. Jenkins has had to suspend play this season. Facebook.com/JenkinsCavaliersFootball

In a football season that began with only 13 players on its official KHSAA roster, Jenkins High School has decided to suspend play for 2019 after injuries and other factors, WYMT reported.

“We did everything we could to keep a team on the field,” Cavaliers head coach Kenneth O’Quinn told WYMT in a story posted on its website Wednesday. “Despite those efforts, it just couldn’t or wouldn’t work out.”

Jenkins had been scheduled to play Berea on Friday night. A report late Tuesday by the Richmond Register indicated that game would be a Jenkins forfeit, making it the second forfeit of the Cavaliers season. They earlier called off a game against Rye Cove of Clinchport, Va.

The Jenkins roster lists six seniors, one junior, four sophomores and two freshmen.

“I feel bad for the seniors. That’s not the way anyone imagines their season ending,” O’Quinn told WYMT. “At the end of the day, it is about the student-athletes. We just have to pick up the pieces and see what lies ahead.”

In addition to the forfeit, Jenkins lost its season opener 39-8 to Breathitt County and its last game to Jackson County, 30-0. Jenkins had six more games remaining on its schedule.

While enrollment at the small, southeastern Kentucky school has diminished slightly over the past three years, its football participation has declined precipitously, a problem that has been plaguing high school football as a whole.

In the year of its last victory (against South Floyd in 2016), Jenkins had 30 players rostered. They had 17 players the next year and 20 players in 2018, including nine seniors. Jenkins’ enrollment for 2018-19, the last figures available on KHSAA.org, was listed at 138, including 79 boys.

Jenkins’ last winning season, 6-5, came in 2007. Their last season with more than one win (four) came in 2012 and included a 28-22 victory at home over Paintsville.

There have been two other forfeits/slash no contests this year. The season-opening Harlan County-Harlan game was declared a forfeit by the Green Dragons. The Todd County Central-Fort Knox game was declared a Todd win after the game couldn’t be played because of a lack of officials.

Jared Peck, the Herald-Leader’s Digital Sports Writer, covers high school athletics and has been with the company as a writer and editor for more than 19 years.
Support my work with a digital subscription
SUBSCRIBE TODAY
  Comments