After a week of drama, Prexies are playoff-bound
The Prexies are playoff-bound after all.
At the beginning of the week, Washington High School’s football team had a 7-1 record and was headed for the WPIAL playoffs.
Then, its record was slashed to 1-7 and the players were going nowhere.
But, thanks to intervention Thursday by the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association, five of the team’s wins are restored, much to the relief of players, coaches and fans.
The backstory: Washington was forced to forfeit the games it won because the WPIAL deemed two of its players ineligible.
On Monday, the game against Brownsville Oct. 4 was forfeited because Zach Blystone, whose family had moved into the district from Charleroi, played while appealing his case for eligibility.
Then on Tuesday, all the games in which senior Quorteze Levy played were forfeited. Because Levy repeated ninth grade when his family moved to Washington from Michigan, he exceeded the eight semesters of eligibility allowed by the WPIAL.
Oddly enough, the WPIAL issued a hardship waiver that allowed Levy to play but insisted that the waiver could not be retroactive, meaning that the Washington games in which Levy played from that point on could count, but not those already played.
The possibility that Levy might be ineligible was discovered only last Friday by the school district, which held him out of the game that night and reported to the WPIAL immediately.
It is quite clear that there was no attempt by the school, the coach or Levy to skirt the rules; this was an oversight, a problem of paperwork. And the rules established by these associations exist for valid reasons; they ensure that no teams have unfair advantages over others. The rules would be worthless if they were routinely ignored or waived.
The Washington High School’s football team has been splendid this year.
The games were played and victories celebrated. Now, after days of drama, the team will have the opportunity to compete on a bigger stage.