Judge upholds decision to keep Cathedral Catholic out of playoffs

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SAN DIEGO – Cathedral Catholic High School’s varsity football team will not get a chance to play in the California Interscholastic Federation playoffs due to an ineligible player.

The ruling came down from Judge Steven Denton Friday.

“The Court does not make this decision lightly,” said Denton. “However, this decision is necessitated by the rules.  Schools, teams and players must all abide and play by the same rules. The integrity of the system necessitates a level playing field.”

Cathedral Catholic High School self-reported the ineligible player and the school was forced to forfeit all of the games the player participated in.

During a court hearing Friday morning, players and administrators hoped Denton would rule to allow the first playoff game against Serra High School to go on Friday night. A photo on the school’s Facebook page showed the players praying before the hearing.

“We were kind of optimistic that there was going to be a game tonight,” said student Jonathan Harris. “But then once we found out we were pretty sad.”

After the hearing Cathedral Catholic’s Administration released a statement taking responsibility for the violation:

“Our team has worked tirelessly to be heard in court in the face of adversity.  We made a mistake, a clerical error.  The mistake was solely on the administration and we immediately self-reported our error to CIF-San Diego Section.

Cathedral Catholic High School stands by our decision to self-report.  The kids, the players, the team, did nothing wrong.

While we fully respect the law and CIF rulings, it is a shame for the players, who’ve worked so hard, and our amazing team, to have to forfeit their entire season.  We believe they have been erroneously punished as a result, by not being able to play in tonight’s CIF Playoff game.  For this, we are deeply saddened.”

Cathedral Catholic Principal Michael Deely posted on the school’s Facebook page Friday afternoon. In the message he thanked CCHS students for their support of Coach Sean Doyle and the football team.

“Even though the final decision has ended their season,” wrote Deely. “We walk away from the experience grateful for the Dons’ Family and the way our students, parents, faculty and staff love and rally around one another. We also thank the Serra High School football coaches, players and families for their patience this week.”

Serra High School will move on to the next round of the playoffs and will play the winner of the Ramona/West Hills game next Friday November 23.