The lines were drawn and the bands played on but there would be no football game between two Whittier Union High School District teams last Friday night.
The Whitmont League contest between Santa Fe and Whittier high schools at Pioneer High was called off when referees realized that no physician was present.
More than an hour after the 7:30 p.m. scheduled kickoff, and after several calls over the public address system asking for a doctor to fill in, principals Thelma Montgomery of Santa Fe and Michelle Lawrence of Whittier called the game off.
The Whitmont League constitution says only that it is the "responsibility of the host school to arrange for a physician" at football games. School district policy states that an "attempt to secure a physician" must be made, unless pre-approval by parents has been granted for their children to play without medical supervision.
In a further twist, parents of district football players are required to sign a form giving such permission before fall practice began.
"No one was real sure and no one wanted to say, 'Go ahead and play it,' " Santa Fe Activities Director Bob Cooke said. "Those of us who have been here for a millennium thought it would be OK to play, but no one had a copy of the Whitmont League constitution on them, either."
League President Frances Riley said, "Would you take that chance with all the (legal) suits going on today?"
The Family Practice Center at Whittier Presbyterian Hospital has an informal arrangement to provide medical personnel at district football games but "personal circumstances" kept the physician assigned from attending the game, hospital spokeswoman Maria Adams said.
"We feel really bad about it," Adams said.
Santa Fe has lost 16 consecutive games, currently the longest losing streak in the CIF Southern Section. Whittier is 1-5. The schools may ask league and section permission to play a "California tiebreaker" on Nov. 15. The tiebreaker consists of four plays each from the opponent's 20-yard line.