LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - Washington-Marion High School will not participate in the 2020 LHSAA high school football season due to the aftermath of Hurricane Laura, Principal Ronnie Harvey confirmed to 7Sports.
“Being a product of the community and a graduate of Washington-Marion, it was a hard decision [to cancel the season]. I don’t think we’ve ever been at this position that we are at today. We understand that COVID-19 is very real and we respect that to the highest level as we’ve also dealt with the devastation of Hurricane Laura." said Harvey. "We here at Washington-Marion don’t make any excuses and the bottom line is we are just not in a position to safely put our players out there. We just have to trust the process and call the season. We hate to call the season, but I think this is what’s best for our student-athletes at this time, and that’s the most important thing to us is our student-athletes.”
Like many schools in the area, Washington-Marion’s football players are spread out across not only Louisiana but Texas as well. Harvey admitted many homes in North Lake Charles are still inhabitable.
In addition, Charging Indians head football coach Toriano Williams resigned Monday morning. Harvey said that Williams believed he wasn’t able to perform his duties at an efficient level at his time. Williams leaves Washington-Marion after one season with a record of 1-9.
“We want to keep the relationship good. We have nothing bad to say. We are going to stay positive and show some dignity. Coach Williams resigned this morning, but we have to just keep moving forward," admitted Harvey. "We are going to announce the vacancy real soon and hopefully, we can get somebody that can come in and passionately lead our young Charging Indians.”
Washington-Marion received some storm damage, namely water damage, to the main portion of the school, and as of Monday afternoon is still without electricity. The school’s athletic facilities were hit much harder.
“We received major damage to our lighting in the football stadium, our scoreboard is gone, one of our field goal posts is gone and most of the metal bleachers received some damage, along with concession stands and the ticket booth," said Harvey. "We really sustained some damage, but it’s nothing we can’t bounce back from.”
The decision to cancel the football season will not affect any other sports seasons for the school.