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Sweet Water gets fine, keeps wins

SWEET WATER — An emotional week found a joyous end as Sweet Water High School was reportedly informed Friday morning that it would be fined $250 and placed on a year’s probation by the Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA).

The penalties levied by the association were much more lenient than those which were anticipated by school officials and reported Friday by the Demopolis Times.

“(Thursday), they were just gathering information and they didn’t make a ruling until (Friday),” Sweet Water principal Stan Stokley said Friday morning.

Marengo County Schools superintendent Luke Hallmark reported Thursday evening that the forfeiture of the season’s first four football games appeared imminent.

“That’d be a pretty stiff penalty for anybody,” Stokley said. “I hope that common sense was what prevailed.”

“I don’t know,” Hallmark said when asked what may have changed between Thursday evening and Friday’s ruling. “I know the high school athletic association does what they think is best for the schools.”

According to Stokley, the violation in question comes as the result of one SWHS football player who twice began an AHSAA required sportsmanship course but neglected to complete the curriculum each time.

“We weren’t trying to circumvent the rules. It was just an oversight on our part,” Stokley said. “We think it’s a good program. We put 399 students through the program.”

The ruling allowed the Bulldogs to retain their 4-0 record which was improved to 5-0 with Friday night’s homecoming victory. The ruling also allowed the team to maintain its school record winning streak, which now stands at 32 games.

The AHSAA and Bulldog head football coach and athletic director Stacy Luker declined further comment on the situation.