The Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association ruling that knocked the Sequoyah-Tahlequah football team out of the Class 3A playoffs was upheld by the OSSAA board of directors at its monthly meeting Wednesday.
Among other penalties, the school was forced to forfeit nine football games, taking away a district championship. But 11 of the 12 athletes involved in the case had their high school eligibility reinstated by the Board, starting with the next sport they participate in.
The 12th athlete — quarterback Brayden Scott, according to Scott's legal counsel — will not be eligible for the remainder of the school year. Scott has verbally committed to play football at Memphis next year.
According to OSSAA and Sequoyah-Tahlequah investigations, the athletes were said to have participated in individual camps that were paid for by the school, which is a violation of OSSAA rules.
Other penalties against the school and administrators involved include:
*Football coach Brent Scott is suspended from coaching at an OSSAA member school for one year.
*The football team cannot conduct spring practice in 2013 and the players cannot participate in team camps, 7-on-7 leagues or clinics next summer.
*The team is prohibited from playing any interschool scrimmages before the 2013 season.
*The school is placed on warning status for two years and must complete an operational audit of all sports programs regarding OSSAA rules compliance.
“I think they treated our boys as fairly as possible under the circumstances,” Sequoyah-Tahlequah athletic director Marcus Crittenden said. “To reinstate their eligibility, I think was a very fair outcome.”
ELGIN COACH TO SIT OUT THREE GAMES
Elgin football coach Matt Allen will be required to sit out the first three games of the 2013 season after the OSSAA board of directors ruled on the school's appeal to reinstate an athlete for violating an unspecified rule of amateurism.
Elgin was forced to forfeit one game, but the player in question was reinstated immediately by the Board.
INDEPENDENCE PROPOSAL TURNED AWAY
Oklahoma City Public Schools athletic director Keith Sinor and Putnam City Schools athletic director Dick Balenseifen were turned down on their proposed rule change regarding teams' individual independence from the OSSAA.
The Board voted against the proposal that would have allowed any OSSAA school to withdraw individual teams from the OSSAA, as opposed to the current rule that requires member schools to be in the association for all sports they play.
The Board told Sinor and Balenseifen they could return and apply for independence for individual teams in their school districts. However, multiple teams have applied for independence separate from their school, but none have succeeded.
Sinor said he would apply for independence for the U.S. Grant and Capitol Hill football teams.
“That's what we'll do, because we feel it's right for the kids,” he said. “We want to give them an opportunity to taste success.”
WASHINGTON LANDS AT DESTINY CHRISTIAN
Former Douglass running back Dion'Tay Washington has landed at Destiny Christian School.
The senior was ruled ineligible this season by the OSSAA after he transferred back to Millwood, where he attended his freshman year.
Washington joined Destiny Christian during Week 5 of its season and has played in three games, rushing for 509 yards and eight touchdowns off the bench.
“Just because he's a new guy to our team, he came in late in the year and we don't want to mess up the chemistry that we have amongst ourselves,” Destiny Christian coach Joe Biddle said. “He's an impact player. If he gets the ball and hits the edge, he's gone.”
Washington sat out last week's Oklahoma Christian School Athletic Association semifinals victory over Windsor Hills because the coaches decided he needed a week to work on his academics, but Biddle said Washington will play Friday night against the OKC Patriots for the Class 3A title at Putnam City West.
Washington participated in the U.S. Army All-American underclassmen combine in January, turning heads among scouts. Biddle says Tulsa has recently shown interest despite Washington's high school eligibility issues.
OFFENSIVE SWITCHES KICKSTART EDMOND MEMORIAL
Against Edmond North in Week 1, Edmond Memorial was playing their star running back, Warren Wand, at quarterback.
Tyler Holcomb is now the quarterback while Wand moved to tailback, making the Bulldogs more balanced offensively.
But Bulldogs coach Justin Merideth said the biggest improvement the Bulldogs made in the last half of the season was simply limiting mental mistakes and turnovers.
Edmond Memorial clinched a playoff spot with a 61-14 win over Putnam West on Friday night.
Wand rushed for 164 yards on 11 carries and three touchdowns.
Wide receiver Will Scott caught four passes for 75 yards, including a 48-yard scoring strike from Holcomb. Scott also returned a kickoff 75 yards for a touchdown.
“He is a kid who is a senior who has very big play ability,” Merideth said. “He is one of our better athletes.”
CORNWELL READY FOR REMATCH
Midway through the season, Jones quarterback David Cornwell said he'd like another shot at Perkins-Tryon after his Longhorns fell to the Demons 18-15 in the season opener.
Cornwell didn't think it would come this quickly.
Jones opens the playoffs at home against Perkins on Friday.
“We want to show them what we're made of this time,” Cornwell said. “We've very confident. They're going to play hard, they blitz and they get around the football but we're playing a whole lot better now.”
None more than Cornwell, the junior who was making his first varsity appearance in the season opener.
“I'm a lot different player now than I was then,” he said. “I've evolved a lot in learning how to win, learning how to move the sticks and get us in the end zone.
“That loss was an eye-opener. You never want to lose games but it kept our team humble. We've been in the fire and we know how to respond to it.”
TULSA MEMORIAL SNAPS LONG DROUGHT
When Tony Daniels took over the Tulsa Memorial program five years ago, one of his five-year goals was to make the playoffs.
It took all five years, but the Chargers are in the playoffs for the first time since 1989.
“Getting it on the fifth year, took a little bit longer than what I had thought, but we were finally able to get it done,” Daniels said.
Tulsa Memorial opens the Class 5A playoffs at Claremore on Friday.
After finishing one game shy of the playoffs the last two season, Daniels said he felt like this season was the year the Chargers would make the playoffs.
It also helped that quarterback Keith Driver came out of nowhere with more than 2,000 total yards and 19 touchdowns in his first year ever at the position.
“We were kind of missing the passing game the last couple of years and we're finally kind of able to get that,” Daniels said. “There's still some things we need to tweak with it, but I think that's been the biggest change.”