Football coach suspended for running up score on undefeated team

Football coach suspended for running up score on undefeated team
A rule preventing lopsided scores was violated when a New York high school football coach left his first-team players in a game that was already well in hand. (Source: Gray Media)

MASSAPEQUA, N.Y. (Gray News) - It didn’t matter that the South Side Cyclones were undefeated when Plainedge High School blew them out.

It didn’t matter that Plainedge Superintendent Edward Salina publically defended head coach Rob Shaver for the lopsided 61-13 win.

It didn’t even matter when Cyclones head coach Phil Onesto told WNYW he took no issue with Shaver and the final score.

Section VIII Athletics suspended Shaver all the same. To prevent the losing team from being humiliated, the governing body enacted a rule three years ago to limit margins of victory.

It is perfectly fine to win by 42 points in Nassau County. In fact, Plainedge had won all of its October games by exactly 42 points up until the Oct. 25 meeting with the Cyclones.

But if you score more than that, you have to explain why to a committee. Under the policy, coaches who can demonstrate the score was run up by backups will not be suspended.

That’s where officials say Shaver went wrong.

“Their first team played in the fourth quarter, and I think that’s what swayed the committee,” said Pat Pizzarelli, executive director of Section VIII Athletics. “Is it worth beating a team 70–0? Isn’t 30 or 40 points enough?”

As you might expect, parents of Plainedge players were not thrilled.

“I think the rule is ridiculous,” one dad said. “It’s not teaching them life lessons. It’s a joke.”

“Coach Shaver is an honorable, standup guy. He coached all three of my children, two who have gone on to play Division I athletics,” another dad added. "This rule doesn’t work. It hasn’t worked elsewhere and it shouldn’t be on Long Island,” he added.

With the suspension coming so late in the season, the Red Devils opted not to appeal. They didn’t want to risk not having their head coach when the playoffs start.

Even so, they managed just fine without him. They took down Lynbrook 36-0 on Saturday.

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