LOVING, N.M. (KRQE) - A southeast New Mexico town is mourning the loss of the local high school football team.
Loving High School started the season with very few athletes, and after several players got hurt at last week's game they've decided to call it quits.
"It's not a proud day. I've been here for 27 years, and it's probably the worst day in athletics I've ever felt in football," said Loving High School Football Coach Doug Santo.
He says the school had no other choice but to cancel the rest of the varsity football games for safety reasons.
According to Santo half of the football team's 22 players are freshmen. When four of his athletes got hurt at last Friday's game, he didn't feel comfortable sacrificing the freshmen's safety just to play a game.
"When you look back to see what we would have to put in to replace them, and now we're getting into the freshman that have no experience as varsity players let alone high school players," said Santo.
He said canceling the rest of the varsity football season was a last resort decision.
"I didn't know whether to be sad or angry," said Gabriel Morales, Loving High's only senior football player.
Now Morales has no other choice but to play his senior year on the junior varsity team.
"We just decided to do it now to be able to finish out the season at least to play JV football," said Santo.
It might not be the season Morales had pictured, but he says it's one he won't forget especially for what his JV teammates told him.
"They're just saying they're going to play their hardest for me because it's my last year," said Morales.
Junior varsity games will be played as originally scheduled.
School administrators say the New Mexico Activities Association is still discussing whether the canceled games will be considered forfeits.
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