Camden Hills High School has canceled the remainder of its football season, effective immediately, according to a letter sent to area coaches and media Thursday.

The Windjammers were to face Ellsworth/Sumner in a Class D North matchup Saturday.

They will forfeit the final five games of the season. Camden Hills also was scheduled to play Maine Central Insititute, Washington Academy, Stearns/Schenck and Medomak Valley.

“This was a difficult decision because so many people, especially the Five Town Football community, worked extremely hard to bring football to our school,” Camden Hills principal Nick Ithomitis said in the release. “We are proud of our football players, coaches, parents and fans. They did their best to make football and integral part of our athletic program. Unfortunately, dwindling numbers of players have created a serious safety issue, and we are simply not willing to put any more students at risk.”

The Windjammers played in three games this season, all losses.

After a 49-12 defeat in the season-opener, they fell in a close battle with fellow fledgling program Houlton, 22-14. Last week, traditional power Bucksport beat Camden Hills easily, 53-14.


“We are very appreciative of the support provided by the Maine Principals’ Association and the Little Ten Football Conference,” Ithomitis said. “The MPA and conference schools did everything they could to help us sustain our program.

“Although many people will be disappointed with our decision, we hope they understand and respect our need to protect the safely of our students.”

MPA rules state that one possible consequence of forfeiture of games is a ban from future competition in the sport.

“Forfeiture of MPA-sponsored events (is) generally not allowed,” reads the MPA coaches’ handbook. “There may be cases because of concerns for the safety of student athletes or the inability of the school to field a team for an extended period of time which, after consultation with the MPA staff and the appropriate MPA committee, will lead to a forfeiture … Forfeitures may lead to a two-year exclusion from participation in the sport in which was the season was not completed.”

This is the fourth recent case involving forfeits due to safety concerns in football. Each involved a school who either started or revived a program since the turn of the century.

Sacopee Valley twice forfeited games, once to Jay (2010) and again to Winthrop (2013) due to reduced numbers and safety concerns. The Hawks played the remainder of their games in each season but deemphasized their program in 2014 to junior varsity, where it remains.


Telstar forfeited a Class D South playoff quarterfinal game at Lisbon at 2014, citing both low numbers and the belief that it had not earned the berth. The Rebels were awarded their lone win that year after it was determined that Traip has used an ineligible player in an October game.

In both cases, there were no further sanctions against the programs. Telstar played Dirigo and Old Orchard Beach to start this season with fewer than 20 players in uniform.

MPA assistant director Mike Burnham could not be reached for comment Thursday afternoon.

Camden Hills is a Class B school according to enrollment. The Windjammers elected to play football in Class D for the 2015 and 2016 cycle, making them ineligible for the playoffs.

Additionally, the MPA instituted a “running time” rule this season, allowing for almost no stoppages in play when a team leads by 35 or more points in the second half. One purpose of the rule was to prevent overmatched teams from getting hurt or demoralized.

Camden Hills is one of 26 Maine schools to introduce football at the high school level since the 1990s.

That explosion led to the reintroduction of a fourth enrollment classification in 2013. Other programs have allowed their athletes to compete by forming cooperative teams, including Oxford Hills/Buckfield, Winthrop/Monmouth, Ellsworth/Sumner, Stearns/Schenck and Madison/Carrabec.

The Windjammers’ scheduled opponent, Ellsworth/Sumner, also is a Class B-sized program that petitioned the MPA to play in Class D for a second consecutive two-year enrollment cycle. Medomak Valley is ineligible for the Class D North playoffs, as well, because it falls in the Class C enrollment window.

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