Player eligibility questioned; Southern AD says team will play

Nov. 19, 2013 @ 12:14 AM

Southern Vance High School’s advance in the state football playoffs was called into question on Monday with a report of using an ineligible player in Friday’s win at South Columbus.

Use of ineligible players can be grounds for a forfeit. Monday night, the school’s athletics director told The Dispatch the state’s athletics association had decided the team would be playing Friday at Eastern Randolph.

The N.C. High School Athletics Association offices had closed for the day when the report out of Whiteville became available. Verification from the governing organization could not be confirmed by press time.

“Southern Vance is playing on Friday night because that is what the NCHSAA has decided,” said David Jennings, Southern’s athletics director.

The Dispatch was not represented at the Southern-Franklinton game and unable to confirm by press time if any players were either ejected or disqualified from the contest.

State athletic association rules prohibit an ejected player to participate in its team’s next game.

Eastern Randolph head coach Seth Baxter was unaware of the situation when contacted by telephone Monday night. He said his team was preparing to play Friday against the Raiders.

Jake Fonvielle, the South Columbus head football coach and its athletics director, told the Whiteville News Reporter Monday that Southern Vance used a player who had been ejected from Southern’s loss to Franklinton the week before. According to the Whiteville paper, Fonvielle was told by Southern head coach Lewis Young prior to the game the player had not been ejected.

Efforts to reach Young Monday evening by telephone were not successful.

Southern defeated South Columbus 12-6 in the 2-A playoff game.

According to the Whiteville paper and Fonvielle’s account, the NCHSAA did not receive an email from the head official of the Southern-Franklinton game but the head official had confirmed the ejection.

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