Mules football may already be 1-0
Football practice may not open for another seven weeks, but the Poplar Bluff Mules may already be 1-0.
Poplar Bluff's Week 7 opponent has pulled the plug on its program and the Mules may end up having to take a forfeit victory.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported the Maplewood Richmond-Heights school board canceled the upcoming season after two years of low student turnout. Less than a dozen players signed up for the fall season, according to the report.
Last year the school had to forfeit a game early in the season due to injuries that depleted the roster.
Just three years ago the Blue Devils reached the state quarterfinals after playing for the 2010 Class 2 title.
Poplar Bluff beat Maplewood-Richmond Heights 48-20 last season at Morrow Stadium.
The Mules, who were 5-5 last season, are scheduled to play there this fall.
Kent Keith, Poplar Bluff's athletic director, said in a text message Saturday the school has contacted MSHSAA about the situation. He said since there is a contract to play a game, the Mules could take a forfeit and a week off or find another opponent.
"It is very late to be looking for a new opponent," Keith said.
Poplar Bluff opens the season Aug. 28 at Fox before hosting Dexter on Sept. 4. The Mules also have home games against Jackson (Sept. 25), Sikeston (Oct. 2), Hillsboro (Oct. 16) and Normandy (Oct. 23).
The Mules also travel to Farmington (Sept. 11) and Cape Central (Sept. 18).
"If it was a home game, we might be thinking a little bit differently," Keith said. "I will say, if a suitable opponent is presented to us, we will look at the situation again."
Poplar Bluff's last forfeit win was in the 1974 season opener. The Mules lost 15-6 but Fox had to later forfeit the game for use of ineligible players.
The last time Poplar Bluff didn't play 10 full games in a season was 2003 when a game at Francis Howell North ended in the first half due to lightning and later ruled a no contest.
Brian Rosener is the sports editor of the Daily American Republic.