|LONGVIEW - The Longview Lobos today are seeking a football game to replace Arlington Heights of Fort Worth after the Yellowjackets yesterday were forced to cancel their contest scheduled here Friday night because of a serious outrank of influenza among Arlington Heights players.
An Arlington Heights spokesman cancelled the game by long distance telephone Wednesday morning. He said the Fort Worth school took the action reluctantly but that there was no other alternative in view of the fact that the Yellowjackets would be unable to field a representative team because of the large number of influenza cases.
Even Roy Curry, head coach of Arlington Heights, is a victim of the flu along with most of the team's players.
Out of a squad of 20 players that went to Pampa with the Arlington Heights team for a game last Friday night, 17 had influenza when they returned to Fort Worth. Eight more players at Arlington Heights were reported flu victims Tuesday and three more contracted it yesterday.
Thus, virtually the entire squad of the first team of the Yellowjackets has been out with the flu this week.
"It's an unfortunate thing," head coach Catfish Smith of the Lobos said Wednesday after the cancellation," but there's not anything anyone can do about it. It's not their fault and it's not ours."
Smith immediately began searching for some other opponent to fill the Friday night date here against the Lobos but had been unsuccessful last night.
"We will play any Class AAA or Class AAAA team that's available," he said.
The school's policy normally is not to play any team of lower classification than the Lobos, although Smith indicated that the policy would be relaxed in this instance, if a Class AAA eleven can be found to fill the date.
"The only trouble is that we may not be able to find any team at all at this late date," Smith said.
About the only hope that appeared last night for the Lobos to fill the Friday night date was the possibility that some other team might also be left with an open date because of a similar cancellation. One such game was played in the state last week when two teams were forced to cancel contests because of influenza and the other two teams involved played each other.
"Maybe we can find some other team in the same situation this week and schedule a game with them" Smith said hopefully.
The Longview coach obviously was disappointed over the cancellation.
"This was a game we needed," he said, "because our boys are just beginning to come along and an open date now might hurt us."
The next game on the Longview schedule in the event the Lobos are unable to fill the date this Friday night will be against North Dallas here Friday, Oct. 4.
Arlington Heights was agreeable to playing the Lobos later in the season but the only open date on the schedule for the Yellowjackets did not coincide with that of the Lobos on Oct. 25. Consequently, the contest with the Arlington Heights eleven was called off all together.
The Fort Worth team is one of many in Texas that has been hit by influenza this season and there were several game cancellations last week.
The Lobos have been inoculated against influenza, although the necessary period was not yet expired before the vaccine takes effect.