Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

FHSAA cancels Nature Coast-Central game

BROOKSVILLE — Football coach Jamie Joyner walked alongside his principal, then broke up Nature Coast's practice with a statement no one could anticipate.

Joyner huddled the Sharks, who each took a knee, then told them the news in a soft, broken voice.

"The (Florida High School Athletic Association) has canceled our game against Central on Friday," Joyner said. "The good news is we still have the postseason."

Just north, Central principal Dennis McGeehan was giving the Bears a similar speech with one tough twist: They have no more games; their season is over. In effect, the Bears lose their final home game and senior night as well.

"I didn't think my high school career would end halfway through a practice," Central senior Dallas Waugh said after his father called the St. Petersburg Times to object to the decision. "The seniors were crushed. It was completely unfair."

This was continued fallout from a bench-clearing brawl last week between Nature Coast and Groveland South Lake. The game was called with three minutes, 45 seconds remaining after the lights went out and a fight ensued. South Lake's game Friday against Tavares also was canceled.

"You just feel for your players," Joyner said. "Your heart bleeds for them because you know firsthand how much they put into this."

Central coach Cliff Lohrey stood outside the Bears' gymnasium still stunned about an hour after his season ended. For the first time in his career, Lohrey could not address the team and asked the players to return today for a meeting.

"We've been down the second half of the season and if we were preparing for anyone (other than Nature Coast) this would have been a long week of practice," said Lohrey, whose Bears are 3-6 and have lost their past four games. "This was a new season in itself. We respect the FHSAA's decision, but it's disheartening to our team."

The decision to cancel this week's games was made Wednesday afternoon during a conference call between FHSAA associate executive director for athletic administration Denarvise Thornton, and superintendents and county athletic directors from Hernando and Lake counties, Nature Coast principal Tizzy Schoelles said.

FHSAA spokeswoman Cristina Alvarez said the organization had no comment and referred questions to letters sent to both schools. In those documents, Joyner and an unidentified Nature Coast football player were suspended for "throwing punches." Joyner has been suspended from coaching for six weeks, and the player is suspended indefinitely.

Schoelles and Joyner will travel to Orlando today to appeal. She added there would be no appeal to play Friday's games.

After Joyner's comments Wednesday, one player raised his hand and asked if the cancellation meant Nature Coast would not have a 10-0 season. When Joyner answered yes, the Sharks let out a collective groan and one or two teared up.

"We never beat them before," Nature Coast running back Antwan Story said. "All you can do is look to the next game. We worked hard to go 10-0. Now that won't happen."

FHSAA cancels Nature Coast-Central game 11/12/08 [Last modified: Wednesday, November 19, 2008 6:21pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. College World Series: Gators, LSU face off in all-SEC finals

    College

    OMAHA, Neb. — The matchup for the College World Series finals bolsters the case for those who say the best baseball in the land is played in the SEC.

    Florida’s Brady Singer, delivering during a CWS win over Louisville last week, is scheduled to start tonight against LSU.
  2. Jones: Fox Sports Sun shows depth in Rays coverage

    TV and Radio

    tom jones' two cents

    Tampa Bay Times columnist Tom Jones looks back at the best and worst from a weekend of televised sports.

    Best coverage

    Tampa Bay Rays third baseman Evan Longoria (3) makes a run home for a score in the in the final game of a three-game series between the Tampa Bay Rays and AL East rival the Baltimore Orioles at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, June 25, 2017.
  3. Brian Boyle says returning to Lightning a 'huge option'

    Blogs

    As former Lightning forward Brian Boyle approaches free agency this week, he said he's trying to stay busy.

    Former Tampa Bay Lightning player center Brian Boyle (24), on the ice during first period action at the Amalie Arena in Tampa on March 16, 2017.
  4. Rays journal: Blake Snell to rejoin rotation, Erasmo Ramirez heads to bullpen

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — LHP Blake Snell is rejoining the Rays' rotation, but the move has as much to do with helping the bullpen as it does with Snell's improvement during his time at Triple-A Durham.

    Tampa Bay Rays relief pitcher Erasmo Ramirez (30) delivers a pitch in the first inning against the Cincinnati Reds Wednesday, June 21, 2017 in St. Petersburg.
  5. Rays' bullpen stars lit up in loss to Orioles

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Saturday it was the soft underbelly of the bullpen that let one get away from the Rays, incurring the wrath of the team's faithful followers, who wondered why the high-leverage guys weren't pitching.

    Rays closer Alex Colome, coming in with the score tied in the ninth, allows three runs in his second straight poor outing.