Essex must forfeit wins

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 22, 2003

Rumors surrounding the John Essex High School football team proved to be true this week when the school’s principal received a formal notice from the Alabama High School Athletic Association.

According to the AHSAA, John Essex used two ineligible players for the first six games of the season. The rules infraction means John Essex has been forced to forfeit its first five games. Last week, against Sunshine, the two ineligible players were not allowed to dress and the Hornets won, giving them their only official win of the season.

According to Principal Loretta McCoy, the infractions by the school were obviously an oversight.

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According to McCoy, neither she nor head coach Pierre Goode knew the school was breaking a rule when they allowed the two players to participate in football this year.

McCoy would not go into details about how the infraction was discovered. However, she did concede to speculation that the AHSAA was notified by another school that lost to John Essex earlier this year.

Whatever the reason for the AHSAA investigation and subsequent ruling, McCoy was clear to say that neither she nor Goode were making excuses for the problem.

Goode and his eligible Hornets traveled to Akron for a region game Friday night. No score was available as of press time, but if the Hornets win, they actually could still make the playoffs.

Their win last week against Sunshine gave them a win in the region, as would a win at Akron. In order to make the playoffs, though, the Hornets must travel to Sweet Water and win on Friday.

Sweet Water has lost only two games this season &045; one to Thomasville and one to undefeated American Christian on Friday.

Goode was not available for comment, but McCoy said he and his players have struggled with the ruling.