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Pop Warner team sidelined for season, parents cry foul

8:29 PM, Oct 24, 2013   |    comments
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Wesconnett Park is now silent; the Wildcats football season is over, abruptly.

"It was very heartbreaking," said Teresea Downceroux.

Teresea Downceroux's son is on the team and they're angry.

"My son has been crying since that meeting because he has been devastated," she said.

The team, after a 7-2 season, was poised for the Championship game, but they're sideline. The parents were called into a meeting and told that the season has been forfeited. 

"We're out and another team will take our spot," said Chahid Clark.

Assistant Coach Clark said the Pop Warner Football conference received a complaint that one of his players is ineligible, he lived outside the district.

"When he signed up, proof of residency was not required," he said.

Clark said the child who has been ruled ineligible parents are separated; the father lives on the Northside, the mother lives on the Westside, and he said that should make the child eligible, but Pop Warner disagrees.

"Are they really about the kids or they about trying to prove their point," he asked.

Clark has been coaching six years, he says this is a first for him.

"We've asked them to show us in the rule book how this process works they can't show it," said Clark.

Ironically it is the same rule book that is being used to canceled Wildcats season; turning their field of dreams into a field of disappointment.

"Remove the coach and the illegal player," said Downceroux. "Let the other children that work so hard to get there finish the road that they started."

Ken Jeffords is President of the Greater Jacksonville Pop Warner Football Conference. Jeffords said two weeks ago they received a protest/complaint from the coach of another team.

"They did not provide proper documentation; anything that proves the child lives in the district," said Jeffords.

Jeffords said he has been in Pop Warner Football for 49 years and these decisions are tough.

"There's nothing I hate worst than going to an association telling their season is forfeit," he said. "It is a team penalty, not an individual, I wish there was something we could do."

He said this is one of five pop warner violations that cannot be appealed.

First Coast News

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