A call for better sportsmanship for high school athletes after a football game between Kingsley and Benzie Central turned some players off.
On September 29, Benzie Central defeated Kingsley Boys’ Varsity Football Team 17-0.
This game has left parents wondering if it was done intentionally – and now the Kinglsey School Board is writing a letter to the Benzie Central Board to make their voices heard.
“Parents came forward during our open comments expressing some concerns about the game,” said Kingsley Area School Board Chair Beth Lajko. “As a board, we thought a letter to their school board was the direction we were going to take.
“The letter is not a handshake in Benzie Schools, it’s not our responsibility,” Lajko said. “Our letter is a letter that is going to include what we can do to work together to do what is best for children in our own district and in other districts.”
Some of the parent comments point to Benzie Central’s Kevin Hubbell, who scored a national record 16 goals in the game.
“He was just having a really good night, but he also had a lot of really good nights,” Benzie Central Schools Superintendent Amiee Erfourth said. “This team feeling like it was intentional it wasn’t.”
Erfourth says they also had Kingsley eruptions.
“At the start of this season, my volleyball team lost 25-3 to Kingsley,” she said.
Kingsley, however, says it’s not the same.
“I don’t remember hearing of a game where Kingsley beat another school 119-nil, which would be the same 17-nil in football,” Lajko said.
Erfourth says neighboring sports conferences deal with sportsmanship.
“I was in touch with the Ski Valley Sports Council, and I heard that they have a student-athlete symposium, where they learn how to be good sportsmen,” Erfourth said. “I think this is a great opportunity for our Northwest Conference to try to explore.”
Erfourth says their athletic director and coach have contacted schools in the Kingsley area and apologized.
“I would never want a kid to walk off the pitch feeling like they’re not appreciated for doing their best and sticking it out,” Erfourth said.
Both school districts have the same goal in mind, and that is to move forward.
“It’s time to move on so that we work together to continue this relationship and strengthen each of our communities,” Lajko said.
“As a North West athletic council and conference, we can actually look at this as a learning opportunity and how to problem solve with all of these great minds at the table to support all of our students,” Erfourth said.