Albany will forfeit Friday night’s football game at Bogalusa

Published 10:25 am Friday, November 4, 2022

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Bogalusa Mayor Wendy Perrette said Tuesday that Albany High School would forfeit Friday night’s planned football game at Bogalusa High School.

Perrette made the public announcement during the Tuesday night meeting of the Bogalusa City Council.

According to a Facebook post on Bogalusa High School’s page, the forfeit was accepted. “Details for senior recognition (will be) forthcoming,” the post stated.

The forfeit guaranteed that Bogalusa won District 7-3A, and its record improved to 8-1 overall.

Friday night’s game had originally been scheduled to be played at a neutral site, following a decision by a District 7-3A committee composed of the five high school principals in that district. However, on Monday, Perrette and other local officials announced that a new security agreement and safety procedures had been put in place and that the District 7-3A committee had reversed its division.

But on Tuesday night, Perrette said that Albany ultimately decided not to come to Bogalusa and would instead forfeit the contest.

The Louisiana High School Athletic Association announced the District 7-3A committee’s initial decision on Thursday, Oct. 27, apparently in response to a Friday, Oct. 14, incident in which gunfire was exchanged outside the Bogalusa football stadium during the homecoming game against Jewel Sumner.

Jerry Smith, 15, of Covington, was killed outside the stadium following a three-person shootout. The game was called in the middle of the fourth quarter, with Bogalusa leading 46-27 at the time.

“It’s unfortunate and it’s frustrating that our extensive efforts to address security concerns are being disregarded,” Perrette said, in an press release distributed to the media after Tuesday’s meeting. “Our student-athletes should have this final game of the season on their home field, with Senior Night being celebrated. I remain committed to the safety of our city and to the students of BHS — my alma mater. If nothing else, this situation has led to the implementation of a safety plan that will protect our students, athletes and community.”

Also in the release, Perrette noted that the victim was also one of the gunmen, had a criminal record, was wanted on outstanding warrants, and was neither a Bogalusa resident nor a BHS student.

Albany High School principal Sammie Lacara told Rob DeArmond of the Livingston Parish News said it was a tough decision.

“Just after looking at it, it just seemed like it was the better part of valor, I guess,” Lacara said. “I don’t like the idea of forfeit. Forfeit never comes across my mouth or my mind in a perfect world, but we just aren’t dealing with a perfect world right now.

“In the end, I thought it was actually a very good (security) plan. I commend Bogalusa and the municipalities around them and Washington Parish and all the work they put in to doing what they thought would be necessary to make a safe environment. I certainly commend them, and I think that it’s a step in the right direction.”

As of press time, it appeared likely that Bogalusa would host at least one playoff game during the upcoming postseason.