Sabine Pass cancels remainder of football season

Published 1:19 pm Wednesday, September 19, 2018

By I.C. Murrell

Port Arthur  News


SABINE PASS — Sabine Pass High School has elected to cancel the remainder of its football season, head coach and athletic director Jason Thibodeaux announced in a news release Wednesday.

Thibodeaux wrote that the decision was made during a Monday meeting he had with school district Superintendent Kristi Heid and Principal Andrew Bates.

“When discussing the team, student safety was the utmost priority,” Thibodeaux said. “With low numbers and numerous injuries already sustained this season, it was decided that playing at the varsity level would expose student athletes to a higher risk of injury and that participation posed a serious safety threat.”

The Sharks (0-2) lost 50-0 at Hull-Daisetta on Friday after two of their players were sent to the hospital, one with a “stinger,” or nerve pinch injury, and the other with a hand injury. Sabine Pass finished the game with 12 healthy players.

Sabine Pass has struggled with sustaining numbers in its high school football program in recent years, as it has struggled with a 17-game losing streak that ended in September 2016 and tried to bounce back from the effects of Tropical Storm Harvey in August 2017. The Sharks made the University Interscholastic League playoffs in 2016 following a 6-5 campaign, their first winning record since 1983 and started the 2017 season later than scheduled after Harvey with a win, only to lose seven in a row since.

Fifteen players reported to Sabine Pass’ opening practice on Aug. 6, and Thibodeaux said he expected up to 22 to show up before the Aug. 31 season opener. Pasadena First Baptist Christian Academy beat Sabine Pass 19-14 in that first game in Pasadena, after a last-minute touchdown run by the Sharks was called back because of a penalty.

Sabine Pass school competes in Class 2A Division II, the lowest division in the UIL for 11-man football based on enrollment. (Class 1A consists of two six-man divisions.) Sabine Pass was scheduled for an open date before playing at West Hardin on Sept. 28.

Sabine Pass ISD officials did not immediately comment on the football cancelation.

“Sabine Pass will continue to grow the middle school program that will directly lead into the high school program,” Thibodeaux said in the news release. “We, as a district, have the obligation to provide each student with a safe learning environment, both in the classroom and on the competition field. This decision was based on the love and care of our students.”