In the excitement of winning a ballgame, Greg Moore said he didn’t even notice the mistake.
The FPD head coach realized his team broke a rule only after a 38-8 win over Strong Rock Christian on Friday night.
“I knew we made a terrible mistake when we got back into the locker room,” Moore said. “It wasn’t a good feeling.”
FPD must forfeit its win over Strong Rock Christian after it reported to the GHSA that it played an ineligible player.
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Late in the win over the Patriots, the Vikings’ coaching staff inserted a freshman who was ineligible after transferring from a public school at the start of the year.
Moore said the coaching staff was excited about getting younger players in the game in a blowout. He said the coaches inadvertently put in the ineligible player, who was dressed out for the game because he is eligible for junior varsity competition. Moore said JV players dress out as a reward.
“Obviously, this was a complete oversight,” Moore said. “We self-reported. We felt like that was the right thing to do.”
Moore said the player had been at FPD, but he left the school at the end of last year. He spent a week at a public school at the start of this school year before transferring back to FPD. The coaching staff was aware of his ineligibility, but the coaches accidentally sent him into the game, Moore said.
Moore called Strong Rock on Tuesday, and he said that the Strong Rock coaching staff didn’t know about the mistake.
He called the GHSA and informed the organization. The GHSA told FPD that the minimum penalty for a violation of the migratory rule was forfeiture.
“I’d rather not be credited with a win if we did something, intentional or not, against the rules,” Moore said. “We didn’t do anything on purpose, but we have to live with the consequences.”
The loss could hurt substantially at the end of the season.
The Vikings are jostling for a good seed in their Region 5-A sub-region. They have to finish in one of the top three spots to have a shot at the playoffs.
FPD had its eye on the No. 2 seed in the sub-region with Eagle’s Landing Christian the favorite to win the sub-region. With a loss this week to ELCA, the Vikings will likely have to win out to grab the No. 2 seed heading into a region crossover spot. But if they finish third, they’ll likely play a very good Holy Innocents’ team for a playoff spot.
“It obviously doesn’t leave much room for error,” Moore said. “I am responsible for teaching these boys principles that matter. I can’t do that if I don’t hold consistent to the things we way. It’s disappointing not to have the win. I think all of us would be more disappointed if we didn’t do the right thing.”