Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Pasco superintendent ends attempt to cancel area’s longest running high school football rivalry

Pasco High School's football team already faced problems for the 2018 season.

Several players were suspended indefinitely after a spring game against Fivay High, in which things got "out of control" in the third quarter, as county athletic director Matt Wicks put it.

Coach Tom McHugh wanted to take extreme caution against having his team face further sanctions. So he decided to call off the "9-mile war," a 61-year-old rivalry match against Zephyrhills High.

Wicks told McHugh they couldn't cancel the game, noting the decision would not go over well in the community. "But they insist on not playing ZHS this year," he informed superintendent Kurt Browning, who quickly put a stop to that notion.

What was on McHugh's mind? Concerns about possible recruiting violations and likely on-field retaliations.

See McHugh's letter, edited to remove specific student information, for more details. See also the Times sports team's report.

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