The Bluffton High School football team's season, over on Friday, was on again Monday.
Despite an emotional appeal from Goose Creek officials, the S.C. High School League determined the Gators must forfeit all games in which an ineligible player was in uniform, including a 35-25 victory Friday over the Bobcats in the second round of the Class 4-A Division II playoffs.
That means Bluffton advances to play Northwestern in a third-round game at 7:30 p.m. Friday.
"When it was announced, the kids went running all over the hallways," Bluffton athletics director Dave Adams said. "I just hate I wasn't there when they found out."
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Bluffton was not represented at a meeting of the High School League's executive committee, which voted 14-0 to declare ineligible a player who was participating in his fifth year of football. The committee then voted 12-2 to deny Goose Creek leniency in a penalty spelled out in its constitution.
The league made a similar ruling last week, but the Gators took their decision to court. That set off a bizarre scenario Friday, in which Bluffton learned it would travel to Goose Creek instead of playing host to Conway in the second round. The Bobcats lost ... but departed knowing they might get a reprieve from a league ruling Monday.
Now, Bluffton will try to continue its postseason drive in its first year in Class 4-A.
From staff reports