The Marietta Bulldogs are permanently grounded for the rest of the season.
Due to a staff shortage on the offensive and defensive line, owner and head coach Gary Shelton broke the unfortunate news to his players this week.
The Bulldogs are members of the Tri-Point Football League. They were forfeited in Week 1 and were scheduled to make their home debut Saturday night at Don Drumm Stadium against the West Virginia Black Knights.
“It’s really heartbreaking because we really need it for young men aged 18 to 25 – we wanted these guys to have something,” Shelton said. “We had 25 guys on our roster and only two linemen. There’s no way I’m playing wide receiver at guard. I hated doing it, but I had to make the decision on Monday.
“Our guys went through all the drives and the nine yards to get experience, but it never worked out. It made no sense to go on and not be able to play. Unfortunately, we had to go to bed.
Shelton turned to flyers, radio and television spots, and word of mouth to try to recruit additional linemen. He made Sunday flag football league appearances in Parkersburg as another means of recruiting.
“There are 10 to 15 guys on a team at these flag football games and there are only linemen – I tried to recruit them, but they don’t want to participate,” Shelton said. “The lack of linemen is a trend among all semi-professional teams. The Mid-Ohio Valley is known for its linemen. You look at high schools. They have big linemen.
Before the Bulldogs folded this season, Tri-Point Football consisted of 12 teams separated into two divisions. The regular season ends July 30.
Shelton planned to send the remnants of his roster to the West Virginia Knights.
“I would like to do it again – we will keep trying”, Shelton said. “The biggest issue is getting guys out there and committing. We had two or three quarterbacks and all kinds of talent, but the Knights have the same problem with linemen.
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