High School Football

In midst of recruiting debate, Blythewood-Ridge View wasn’t your normal rivalry game

Watch: Postgame handshakes after Blythewood’s win over Ridge View

Ridge View coach Perry Parks and Blythewood coach Jason Seidel bump hands after Blythewood's 14-0 win on Monday, Aug. 26.
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Ridge View coach Perry Parks and Blythewood coach Jason Seidel bump hands after Blythewood's 14-0 win on Monday, Aug. 26.

This year’s installment of the Blythewood and Ridge View rivalry game had a different feel to it.

For starters, the game was played on a Monday after Friday’s rain pushed it back. Then, there were a tense few weeks of build-up after it was revealed that Blythewood coach Jason Seidel violated rules against recruiting players.

Seidel recognized the magnitude of everything that was happening and had his team warm up near the school instead of on the field with the Blazers in attempt to lessen the emotions of an already-charged rivalry.

But for all of the extra attention around it, the game on the field went off without a hitch as the Bengals defeated their rivals for the second straight year, 14-0.

“I think it was a class act between the two teams. I didn’t think there was lot of cheap shots going on,” said Seidel, who improved to 2-0 against the Blazers. “I was worried that the outside world and community that doesn’t have much at stake would maybe want something and see a hard-hitting game. There is nothing wrong with that. Credit to coach [Perry] Parks and his staff. I didn’t see anyone run their mouths. We were happy to get the win.”

Following the game, Seidel walked toward Parks and extended his hand to him. Parks opted for a fist bump instead, and Seidel told the Ridge View coach to “Go win state.”

There was pre-game speculation surrounding Seidel and a possible suspension. Richland School District Two said it took the “appropriate personnel action with the coach for violations of the district’s position on recruiting” but has never said with the punishment was. Seidel attempted to convince students from other schools in the district — including Ridge View — to transfer to Blythewood and play football for the Bengals, a Richland Two investigation showed.

“If our district says you can go out there and do that then, I mean, we have to revamp what we do,” Parks said after the game.

The practice of recruiting “for athletic purposes is a serious ethical violation” and against the rules, according to Richland Two’s athletics manual, and is against Section 15 in the South Carolina High School League by-laws. No possible punishments for recruiting violations are mentioned in the SCHSL by-laws.

Rumors of high school coaches trying to lure players to their schools to gain a competitive advantage are not uncommon, but Seidel’s case is unique because evidence presented against the coach showed he broke the rules and tried to cover up his behavior.

The State has asked the district to provide a copy of Seidel’s personnel file and any disciplinary records against him — all of which are public records.

The Blythewood players said they paid attention to the surrounding noise around Seidel but tried to stay off social media. After the opening kickoff, their focus was on letting their play speak for themselves.

“We knew the truth and what was really going on, so it didn’t bother us,” Blythewood defensive back Chad Ishmael said. “Coach Seidel’s message was not to play their game. We played this with strategy as far as being silent — and silence kills.”

Blythewood travels to Westwood on Friday, and Ridge View hosts Wayne Hills (NJ).

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RV-0-0-0-0—0

B-7-0-7-0—14

First quarter

B - Joshua Burrell 18 pass from Strickland (Finney kick), 4:32

Third quarter

B - Edwards 26 run (Finney kick), 3:13

Individual Statistics

RUSHING: RV: Mitchell 10-70; Rayner 8-36; Scott 1-21; Holmes 1-5. B: Boatwright 15-86; Edwards 8-85; Dixon 8-41; Strickland 6-28, Washington 2-4.

PASSING: RV: Washington 10-26-0 98. B: Strickland 5-10-047

RECEIVING: RV: Scott 3-28; Smith 2-29; Patton 1-19; Holmes 2-2. B: Joshua Burrell 2-31; Atkinson 1-8; Washington 1-3; Patten 1-3

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