ST. LOUIS - A St. Louis high school is forced to change plans after its homecoming football game was canceled this week. The team is planning a homecoming tailgate in place of the game, and its hoping alumni and the community will still come out to show support.
Trey Porter, Athletic Director and Head Football Coach at Roosevelt High School, said their opponent, Confluence Preparatory Academy, did not have enough players to compete in Saturday's game. Porter said they tried to make accommodations but, ultimately, forfeiture was the only option.
Porter said he was mad for the freshmen players who would not be able to experience their first homecoming football game before the homecoming dance. Porter said it is also disappointing for the seniors who have limited games left in their high school careers and are counting on every game to improve their personal statistics.
"This weekend, there's a lot of colleges that are on by-week that are in our area that are going to be recruiting in our area, that they could've had the opportunity to play in front of that they won't have that opportunity," said Porter.
At team practice Thursday, the players who spoke with Fox 2 spoke more about the disappointment of missing out on a chance to bring the community together.
"It's my favorite game," said senior Alex Mugisha. "It might not be the best games we play against the best opponents, but it's the best game because the whole crowd is here. The whole community is here to support us."
Despite not having a game this weekend, senior Deablo McGee said they are practicing just as hard in preparation for the next game.
"Got to work hard, stay focused," said McGee. "If you don't stay focused, the team that shouldn't beat you, could beat you."
They are not going to risk that happening since the team will be 4-1 following the weekend forfeit. Porter said if they win one more game after that, they will have back-to-back winning seasons.
The community is invited to a homecoming tailgate and barbecue this weekend in place of the game to show support and celebrate the team's success. The team hopes the momentum will carry through the rest of the season.
"We need more people to start coming to our games," said senior Ali Hall. "It's not just homecoming."
The tailgate will be held at Roosevelt High School (3230 Hartford, St. Louis) from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, September 28.