FOOTBALL: Wapak cleared to play, preparing for Franklin
Breathe easy, Redskin fans.
And make your plans for Friday night’s trip to Franklin.
The Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSAA) cleared Wapakoneta on Monday to compete in the football playoffs.
“I’m glad to have this behind us,” Wapakoneta Redskins varsity coach Doug Frye said. “We want to move on and do what’s best for all the kids involved and continue to play football.”
The OHSAA had been investigating the residency of one of the Redskins players after it had received a report he was not residing within the Wapakoneta school district.
Wapak school officials found out about the investigation late last week and held the player out of the Redskins’ 52-32 loss to the Kenton Wildcats.
The student will also be held out of any playoff games.
“To my knowledge, at this point, there was nothing that was out of the ordinary,” Frye said. “But just to be safe, we’re going to hold him out for the remainder of the way.
“And we were being proactive before. He actually would have been eligible for the Kenton game, but we didn’t want to take any chances.”
There was some question as to whether the team would have to forfeit the nine games the player had played in during the season — all wins — and whether it would remain eligible for the playoffs.
Officials from Wapakoneta City Schools met with the OHSAA Monday morning and released a statement late in the afternoon.
“Officials with the Wapakoneta City Schools met with Dr. Dan Ross, Commissioner of the OHSAA and his Assistant Commissioners at their office in Columbus,” the statement said. “After having a discussion, we are happy to say that we will be participating in the Ohio High School football playoffs. We wish all the students athletes participating in any sport good luck in their playoff or tournament. Wapakoneta City School officials will not have any further comment.”
The OHSAA later issued a statement of its own, saying in part, “The OHSAA has determined that school officials were not aware that the student was not satisfying the standards of the bylaw. Therefore, in accordance with Bylaw 10-2-1, all nine victories the school achieved will stand and Wapakoneta will maintain its position in the OHSAA football tournament.”
Frye said the controversy was not a distraction in terms of preparing for Friday night’s game.
“We just approached it as any other playoff opportunity and prepared as we normally do over the weekend and assumed that we would be playing and practicing this week,” he said. “The kids were in the weightroom this morning at 6:45. We lifted and watched film on Saturday. I picked up film from Rodney Roberts, their head coach, Saturday night, and we broke down film and met on Sunday as coaches.”
Wapakoneta will face Franklin (9-1) at 7:30 p.m. at Franklin High School.
Tickets for the game will go on sale Wednesday from 3 to 7 p.m. for grade 9-12 players and parents, band parents, and reserved football season ticket holders.
Students and staff may purchase their tickets from 8 a.m. to noon on Thursday from 8 a.m. The general public may purchase tickets between noon and 3 p.m. on Thursday and from 8 a.m. to noon on Friday.
Please note that the number of tickets available for purchase may be limited per individual.