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High school notebook: Washington could forfeit victories for using ineligible player

| Monday, Oct. 21, 2013, 8:06 p.m.

The WPIAL could force Washington's football team to forfeit victories and miss the playoffs for using an ineligible player.

The WPIAL will announce its decision Tuesday morning, said executive director Tim O'Malley. The league held a hearing Monday for senior Quorteze Levy.

Washington football coach Mike Bosnic said a guidance counselor noticed last week that Levy was in his fifth year of high school. Levy attended ninth grade in Michigan, but repeated his freshman year after transferring to Washington.

“It was a shock to all of us,” said Bosnic, whose Prexies are second in the WPIAL Class AA Interstate Conference.

The WPIAL could grant Levy a hardship waiver, making him eligible immediately. But, even with the waiver, the board must also decide whether league by-laws allow eligibility to be applied retroactively, O'Malley said.

If not, then Washington (7-1, 6-1) must forfeit the games Levy played. The Prexies were 6-1 in those games. Levy was held out of last Friday's nonconference victory once eligibility issues arose.

Nine people accompanied Levy to Monday's hearing at WPIAL offices in Green Tree. The group included family, school employees and former Steelers star Mel Blount, whose son plays for Washington. Bosnic was optimistic.

“I feel good about it,” he said. “I think Quorteze, his family and the school district made a strong case for the two extra semesters of eligibility.”

Bosnic spent recent weeks dealing with the eligibility of another player, junior Zach Blystone, who took his case to court after the WPIAL and PIAA found him ineligible. Blystone played one game, against Brownsville, before dropping his lawsuit. The WPIAL board ruled Monday that Washington must forfeit that victory.

“It's been a really tough year,” said Bosnic, who also dealt with the season-ending knee injury of star running back Shai McKenzie. “... It's really been a roller coaster.”

Bosnic discussed this new issue with his players Monday and described their reaction as “surprised, sad (and) uncertain.”

Riverside faced a similar situation in 2000 after mistakenly using a player who had repeated 10th grade. The Panthers forfeited three games and missed the WPIAL playoffs.

Jeannette staying put

The Jeannette School Board voted Monday to keep the football program in Class AA despite the declining enrollment and the recommendations of football coach Roy Hall and athletic director Matt Lebe to play in Class A.

The board voted 5-4 to keep the football program in Class AA, but unanimously voted to keep the baseball team in Class A.

Jeannette's football enrollment has fallen well within the Class A standards for years.

Jeannette's 42-man roster includes 13 freshmen, and its biggest offensive lineman is Matt Howard, who weighs 250 pounds. Everyone else is less than 200 pounds.

Jeannette's male enrollment in 2012-13 was 163, and the sophomore class has 51 boys and girls combined.

Geibel forfeits

The Geibel football team will forfeit its Week 9 game against Jefferson-Morgan. This will be the third time this season that a lack of healthy players made the Gators cancel. Whether they remain a WPIAL varsity team next season remains uncertain.

“They're going to have to let us know if they want a schedule,” O'Malley said, “but more importantly, our football steering committee and our board will have to decide whether we'll give them one.”

Geibel (0-8) also forfeited to Beth-Center in Week 2 and to West Greene in Week 8.

The football steering committee meets Jan. 3 to realign.

Early exits

The WPIAL held hearings to discuss two soccer games that ended early when unhappy coaches at Brashear and Uniontown pulled their teams off the field. On Sept. 24, Brashear left the field in a game at Canon-McMillan. On Oct. 8, Uniontown walked off at Waynesburg. The result of the hearings will be announced Tuesday.

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