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Penalty will create chaos in rankings

October 25, 2012
By Edgar Kelley - Sports Editor , The Inter-Mountain

The West Virginia Secondary Schools Activities Commission's decision to strip Elkins High School of its seven football wins this season not only has a direct effect on the Tigers, but on other grid teams as well.

Elkins, which was ranked No. 8 in Class AAA this week with a 7-2 record, is being forced to vacate all of its victories because of the use of an ineligible player.

With just two weeks remaining in the regular season, several teams that the Tigers defeated will benefit from the penalty handed down on Elkins.

With the top 16 teams in each class earning berths to the state high school playoffs, it's inevitable that some squads will be gladdened by the devastating news that was broken to the Tiger gridders Wednesday.

"The WVSSAC will be voiding all (Elkins') wins this year," Randolph County Schools Superintendent Dr. James Phares said Wednesday. "There are implications in the AA and AAA rankings."

In Class AAA, Oak Hill, Hampshire, Buckhannon-Upshur and Preston all will pick up victories that once were losses.

Of those four teams, Oak Hill and Hampshire are the only two whose postseason hopes will likely be affected by the changes.

Oak Hill is currently two spots out of the Class AAA playoff picture at No. 18, while Hampshire is four spots out at No. 20. Instead of both teams having 5-3 records, they both will move to 6-2 and be right smack in the middle of the playoff picture.

One Class AAA team that beat Elkins and will be negatively affected is Wheeling Park. The Patriots, who were one spot out of the playoff race at No. 17, will lose any bonus points for beating the then-ranked Tigers.

In Class AA, Bridgeport will feel the same effect as Wheeling Park. The Indians' win over a Top 5 team in Class AAA now becomes a victory over a winless opponent.

One area team in Class AAA that also hasn't yet played Elkins but could be affected is Lewis County, which is ranked No. 16 this week.

The Minutemen essentially could fall out of the race next week if Oak Hill and Hampshire move up. But Lewis County also will receive a few extra points for beating an Oak Hill team that now has six wins.

The Minutemen are currently 6-2 on the season and will play at Liberty Friday before closing out the season against Elkins in the final week of the season.

The team that will benefit the most from Elkins' forfeits is Philip Barbour in neighboring Barbour County, which was ranked No. 14 in this week's Class AA poll. Officials said Wednesday the complaint that led to Elkins' penalty came from a neighboring county, but not from a school or a school official.

The Colts, who were 5-4 on the season, will move to 6-3 and earn bonus points for beating a Class AAA opponent.

Fairmont Senior will get the same reward in Class AA.

The Polar Bears, who were on the outside looking in at the playoff picture at No. 19, will now sport a 5-3 mark and likely will be among the top 16 teams.

WVSSAC?officials said that once the forfeits become official, all of the ratings will be adjusted.

Next week's poll is slated to be released Tuesday.



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