Prep football

St. Francis de Sales brings back football, maybe

2013-10-21T18:00:00Z 2013-12-12T22:15:30Z St. Francis de Sales brings back football, maybeMike Nieto mike.nieto@nwi.com, (219) 933-3232 nwitimes.com
October 21, 2013 6:00 pm  • 

A month after forfeiting a game to Leo, on that school's homecoming, St. Francis de Sales has scheduled its own when it takes on St. Joseph at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Ray & Joan Kroc Stadium.

If the game is played, however, has not been 100 percent confirmed.

IHSA spokesman Matt Troha said he is not sure if St. Francis can restart its program. In a text to The Times, Troha said: "Not 100 % (percent) sure. We have struggled to get response from school, will verify in (Tuesday) morning."

The school forfeited to Leo in September due to having just nine players. It also forfeited to Westville, which St. Francis de Sales director of football operations Tom Gullickson said he just didn't want to drive the four hours. The Pioneers lost on Oct. 11 to Hales Franciscan. The IHSA website shows all of St. Francis' games, starting with the Leo game, as forfeits. The Pioneers lost their first three games.

Gullickson said players have come back from injuries and the team is looking forward to Friday night.

"We should have over 20, maybe 28 if everyone is healthy," Gullickson said. "We are playing mainly freshmen and we told Hales and we told St. Joseph that."

Gullickson said he has a lot of respect for the kids, who wanted to play a varsity schedule.

"A lot of kids would have walked out the door, but despite our struggles, these kids have stuck it out," Gullickson said. "We can have a homecoming and I think that is important to build interest in our program.

"I know it's rough right now, but Rome wasn't built in a day and it will take time to re-build this program."

Gullickson said he did not want to cancel against Leo and neither did the players, but he and the administration felt it was the safe thing to do.

"Our players were saying, 'Coach we want to play,' but I told them I had to do what is the right thing by them," Gullickson said. "We have guys coming back (from injuries) and for our seniors, it is great they can have a varsity season and homecoming."

There will be a tailgate at 6:30 p.m., followed by the game against the Chargers.

"Our kids go out and play hard, but again, with a lot of freshmen, you are not physically capable of going up against varsity players," Gullickson said. "They are trying and pushing themselves. They are going out there and trying to win."

Gullickson said the freshmen team beat Brother Rice's freshman a few weeks ago.

"They are a good group and we need to get another strong freshman class in next year," Gullickson said. "We want to make this a good program and these kids, from seniors to freshmen, are the start of that."

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