Chapel Hill becomes 2nd Triangle school to cancel varsity football season. Here’s why

With the new season set to begin this week, Chapel Hill High School is pulling the plug on its varsity football program.

A statement emailed by Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools spokesman Jeff Nash Monday night said the Tigers will play only a junior varsity schedule.

“As a former football coach, this decision was a hard one for us to make,” Chapel Hill High athletic director Tim Bennett said in the statement. “However, it is the right decision for our kids and program at this time.”

The statement said a low turnout of players, particularly at the upper grade levels, was the reason Chapel Hill won’t have a varsity football team this season. The school plans to resume a varsity program in 2019.

Chapel Hill was scheduled to open the season Friday night at 7 p.m. at Riverside High in Durham.

The Tigers were 1-9 last season, losing all five of their home games.

In June, Cedar Ridge High School in neighboring Orange County Schools announced it was canceling its upcoming varsity football season after too few juniors and seniors planned to play.

Since then the school board has approved several transfers of students to Orange High School, suspending a rule that normally forbids transfers for athletic reasons.

Last season, East Chapel Hill played a junior varsity schedule only. But it is fielding a varsity team this season.

Staff writer Mark Schultz contributed to this story.