High School Football

Northwestern to host Bluffton in AAAA Division II playoffs

For third time, Executive Committee disqualifies school

bbyers@heraldonline.comNovember 19, 2012 

The wait is over for Northwestern’s football team, but the Trojans are in catch up mode.

Officials from Goose Creek met with the South Carolina High School League’s Executive Committee for the second time. By a 14-0 vote, the committee ruled that the player in question, who was called John Doe at Monday’s open meeting, was ineligible and that the Gators could not continue in the playoffs.

So instead of traveling to Goose Creek on Friday, the Trojans will host Bluffton on Friday night at District Three Stadium in the Class AAAA Division II playoffs.

“It’s not really a relief now that we know who we play,” Northwestern coach Kyle Richardson said. “We had to make two game plans (last) weekend not knowing which one we would use. So (Monday) at practice, we worked on defense and spent a lot of time correcting mistakes we made last Friday against West Florence.

“What’s really hard is we lost a full day of preparation. The two teams are on opposite ends on the spectrum. Bluffton will throw the ball 50 times a game, while Goose Creek might throw it five.”

Last week the Executive Committee vote 9-2 to boot the Gators out of the playoffs because they had used an ineligible player in his fifth year of high school. Once a student reaches the ninth grade, he or she has just four years of eligibility.

After last week’s vote, Goose Creek asked for mercy. The Executive Committee voted again and it was 10-1 against.

Goose Creek set up a hearing last Friday with Berkeley County judge Roger Young, who ruled the Gators could play that night. He instructed the SCHSL to meet again on Monday for a final time and decide if the player is eligible or not.

“It might not be over yet,” Richardson said. “Bluffton’s principal (Jimmy Huskey) said it might not be over. So we might not find out who we are playing until as late as Friday, just like Bluffton did last Friday after Conway had been put in to replace Goose Creek.”

If there is any chance of that, Goose Creek representatives will have to go back to court and plead their case.

Their defense on Monday was that the player is a special needs kid who slipped through the cracks because of faulty paperwork.

Goose Creek, which beat Bluffton 35-25 last Friday, had to forfeit its 13 wins this season and must pay a fine.

The forfeit to Bluffton, which lost to South Pointe in last week’s Class AAA championship game, moved to 12-1. Northwestern is 11-2.

“Right now I’m not that confident about who we will play,” Richardson said.

“It’ll probably be Bluffton, but the way Goose Creek acted against the High School League, we don’t know.

“The League has made its decision. It’s time to go forward and play football.”

Barry Byers 329-4099

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