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West Mifflin youth football team banned after falsifying forms for too-old player

Wes Venteicher
| Friday, Aug. 31, 2018, 12:22 p.m.

Leaders of a West Mifflin youth football team lied on registration papers to field a 275-pound boy who was too old for the team and lives outside its geographic boundaries, according to a Washington/Greene youth football league official.

The 6-foot-2-inch tall boy, who turns 14 next month, injured five boys from a Charleroi team made up mostly of 10- and 11-year-olds in the first quarter of the team’s first pre-season game on Aug. 19, said Bill Spencer, the league’s president.

“I was just shocked at how big and aggressive he was on every play,” said Spencer, who reviewed tapes of the game after parents started calling him about the player.

Spencer investigated this week and found false information on the boy’s registration form.

The form says the boy is entering sixth grade — the highest eligible grade — when in reality he is in a higher grade, Spencer said. It says he is two years younger than he is, and lists a Duquesne address instead of the McKeesport address where the boy lives and even plays for a middle-school football team, Spencer said.

The form lists the name of the boy’s mom, Jackie Dawson, but the phone number and email address listed are for Tiffany Palyok, the West Mifflin team’s vice president.

Palyok didn’t immediately return a phone call or email Friday.

Dawson, the boy’s mom, said in an email to Spencer that she didn’t know the league had a grade-level cutoff. Had she known, she wouldn’t have let him play, she wrote.

She said she asked the team’s coach about her son’s age, and he told her the boy couldn’t play. She then talked with Palyok and another leader of the West Mifflin team. Dawson wrote in the email that she was told, “It didn’t matter what anyone says he is playing, and he can play so bring him out.”

West Mifflin joined the league last year, and won few or no games in the team’s first season, Spencer said.

He said the league moved the team to a different division where he thought the team could compete, only to find out about the falsified registration papers.

The league’s board voted unanimously at a meeting Wednesday to indefinitely ban West Mifflin from the league.

“We did what we felt we had to do to protect all the kids in our league,” Spencer said.

Wes Venteicher is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Wes at 412-380-5676, or via Twitter @wesventeicher.

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