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Ledford forfeits East Davidson football game

Ledford has been ordered to forfeit its football win over East Davidson by the N.C. High School Athletic Association, Ledford athletic director Donald Palmer announced Wednesday in an email statement.

The Panthers, who won the game on the field 13-10 on Sept. 13, were found to be in violation of the NCHSAA’s eight quarter participation rule for freshman and sophomore junior varsity players.

“We were under the impression that we were in the parameter of the rule,” Palmer said in the statement. “At the beginning of the game the participant had used less than eight quarters and by the end of the game was over eight. It was our understanding that at the time we would have to make a decision on whether or not to play the participant JV or varsity.”

The rule as stated in the NCHSAA handbook allows for in emergency or “lack of depth” situations only freshman and/or sophomore junior varsity players a maximum of eight quarters per season of “on the field” play as a varsity football player. Players must be pre-determined prior to dressing for participation. A maximum of 12 players can be designated in a season.

Ledford has 33 players on its current varsity roster.

The player in question was declared to be a varsity player at the point in the East Davidson game, according to Ledford coach Chris Adams, who declined further comment on the matter.

“We did not in any way try to do something in violation of the rules, but by an innocent misinterpretation of the parameter of the rule, we did unknowingly violate the 8 quarter rule,” Palmer said in his statement. “I am a rules and policy guy, and for me to misinterpret a rule is difficult to swallow. A rule violation goes against the principles that I stand for as an athletic director and a representative of Ledford and Davidson County Schools.”

The loss drops Ledford to 4-4 on the season and lifts East Davidson’s record to 7-1.

Though his team picked up a win officially, East coach Vance Hanner wasn’t in any kind of celebratory mood.

“I’ll be honest with you, I hate it for Chris,” Hanner said. “I hate it for the kids at Ledford. I can’t imagine winning the game on the field and then what they must feel like having today to give it back. I think that everybody that was there, they knew who won the game on the field and we’ll just leave it at that. That’s what I told our players today.”

While it was a nonconference game, there are playoff implications for both teams. Ledford can “drop” the loss for playoffs seeding but the Panthers still lose the win. East benefits by the gaining the win officially.

“It does help us for the playoffs and moving forward,” Hanner said. “It gets us to 7-1. But everybody that was there knew who won the game.”

Three-time defending 3-AA state champion Northern Guilford recently had to forfeit a 49-7 win over Burlington Williams after adding 13 JV players — one over the season limit — for that game. That forfeit ended a 31-game winning streak.

Mike Duprez can be reached at 249-3981, ext. 218 or