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The Florida High School Athletic Association has declared Countryside quarterback Christian Strong ineligible, a ruling that could force the Cougars to forfeit six games and eliminate them from playoff contention.
Countryside coach Jared Davis confirmed the ruling via text message Saturday night, but said he was told to direct all matters regarding the issue to the FHSAA.
Strong, a senior, started the first six games, including Class 7A-9 district victories over Seminole and Northeast. Davis held Strong out the past two games because of eligibility concerns.
If forfeits are coming, the Cougars (currently 7-1, 3-0) are likely out of the playoffs thanks to Pinellas Park's win over Northeast on Friday night, though the school would have the option to appeal. The Cougars have made the postseason the past four years.
Strong moved from Canada back to Florida in the spring and said he was living with relatives in Clearwater. The FHSAA would not confirm earlier in the week if it was investigating a possible residency issue or lack of proper paperwork — which has been an ongoing issue at the school.
Cougars players were talking about forfeits on Twitter Saturday.
Senior offensive lineman Brandon Pertile tweeted: "The state has decided to take away our wins. Needing a miracle to be in the postseason. Id love to meet whoever started all of this..."
Backup quarterback Robby Hicks, who has started in Countryside's past two victories, also tweeted: "They took away our wins. I love my team. We worked (too) hard to give in. #family"