Connecticut High School Football

High School Football news, analysis, commentary and features from the reporters of the Hearst Connecticut Media Group.

Westhill forfeits 4 victories, turns playoff points upside-down days before Thanksgiving.

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Westhill coach Frank Marcucio and the Vikings were forced for forfeit four games due the the use of an ineligible player, altering Westhill's dream season and the state playoff landscape.

Westhill’s dream season is technically over.

The Vikings, who were on the cusp of playing for their first winning season since 1987, forfeited four victories this morning, the CIAC announced.

Westhill must hand over wins over Trumbull, Central, Norwalk and Danbury.

They are now 1-8 heading into their Thanksgiving Day game with Stamford (2-7).

Dave Ruden caught up with Westhill AD Mike King, who declined to comment based on student matters.

Westhill football coach Frank Marcucio told Ruden, “If I had an idea the kid was ineligible he wouldn’t have played. The kids knew about it yesterday and the kids’ comment was they can’t take away what we did on the field.”

The player in question didn’t play vs. Wilton due to a suspension “unrelated to the eligibility issue,” Marcucio added, which is why that victory wasn’t forfeited.

The player didn’t play vs. Staples and wouldn’t have played vs. Stamford, Marcucio said.

READ THE FULL STORY FROM DAVE RUDEN

And suddenly, the state playoff prospects of several regional football teams just got turned upside down. Ridgefield’s prospects brightened. Fairfield Prep’s dimmed. Greenwich and Staples could potentially lose out on the No. 1 seed.

With the regular season about to end in two days, CIAC Executive Director Karissa Neihoff told our own Dave Ruden, “This is a pretty urgent situation.”

“It’s no fault of the student-athletes because of one school’s mistake,” she told Ruden about the suddenly shifting playoff points. “To have to change your mindset is devastating.

“Now think of the Westhill kids. Boy your heart breaks for them too.”

For now: Here are the latest playoff calibrations factoring in the Westhill forfeits.

Here are the updated, class-by-class scenarios: CLASS LL | CLASS L | CLASS M | CLASS S

Ridgefield picked up 20 bonus points from the move, and will get an additional 10 for beating Danbury. That vaults their Class LL playoff prospects from slim to reasonable and screwed Fairfield Prep, in the process.

Before the forfeits, a Fairfield Prep win over West Haven likely would have put the Jesuits into great position to slide into the Class LL field as the No. 8 seed.

Now, if Ridgefield beats Danbury and Fairfield Prep upsets West Haven, the Tigers will clinch the final spot.

“It’s unfortunate what happened, I feel bad for the kids,” Ridgefield coach Kevin Callahan told Ruden. “Obviously we gained from this so we feel lucky about that. It fell into our laps.”

Fairfield Prep coach Tom Shea told our own Pat Pickens: “It’s very disappointing for us. You want these things to be settled on the field and not taken out of your hands because of off-field events. We have a great rivalry game on Thanksgiving to look forward to and we always take pride in playing our best, so this will not impact how we play. It’s just one of those things you can’t control.”

Westhill’s forfeit also impacted the No. 1 seed prospects for the winner of Greenwich-Staples. Both schools lost 10 points, dropping the likelihood the winner will clinch the No. 1 seed over Southington.

Trinity Catholic also lost points, making their playoff scenario slightly dimmer. A win over Wilton won’t clinch, but the Crusaders will just need some slight help to secure their bid.

Sean Patrick Bowley

54 Responses

  1. HS Football Fan says:

    Not shocking that they cheated to win. That coach has no character.

  2. THS Eagle Pride says:

    Congrats to the Trumbull High Eagles. 5-4 is a lot better than 4-5. Now guaranteed a .500 season. We are so proud of you. Now go beat Sj tomorrow night.

  3. Concerened parent says:

    The head coach did nothing wrong here. This is the Athletic directors fault. The head coach did what he was suppose to do which is hand in his roster. The AD failed to check the list thouroughly and approved the roster. This is not the first time this AD has screwed up an entire season. He’s the one at fault here not the head coach.

  4. Respect coaches and players says:

    Totally unfair to hard working players and coaches that show up committed to impeccaable sportsmanship and the truth. With what our Stamford/Westhill community has been through as of late with other losses… The person resposible should have really re-evaluated the importance of doing his job corectly.

  5. Pat McGroin says:

    So the coach shouldn’t know the academic progress of his kids? He’s not at fault, ultimately it is the AD – but give me a break. If he didn’t know he’s not doing his job which is being a mentor more than a coach.

  6. Concerned Parent says:

    Mr. King needs to take responsibility. The head coach is not at fault

  7. stat dude says:

    Sean — I was looking at the points standings earlier today and Greenwich had 1080 points, which it still has. How did Greenwich lose 10 points? The total points for Staples has gone down, but why not for Greenwich?

    Also, f the coach submits the roster to the AD, who then submits it to the CIAC for each game, then why isn’t the CIAC at fault for not catching this on the first infraction? I can see penalizing the school for one error, but when the same mistake was made and no one caught it for three additional games makes this whole thing silly, at best.

  8. Concerned Parent says:

    Pat McGroin, it wasn’t an academic issue. the player in question had the grades. You don’t know the facts. The player in question didn’t have any eligibilty left in terms of years. How would the head coach know that when it is his first year there?

  9. AD 101 says:

    Top 10 reasons to think your player might be ineligible:

    1. keeps asking coach if his kid can be the ball boy
    2. he played Pop Warner football. And Pop Warner was his coach.
    3. played for Westhill during their last winning season
    4. refers to their playing surface as “astro turf”
    5. keeps calling Trinity Catholic Stamford Catholic
    6. thinks his letterman’s sweater looks groovy
    7. says beating Greenwich will be tougher than solving Rubic’s Cube
    8. Played Bassick in an FCIAC/MBIAC crossover game as a freshman
    9. needs bifocals to read his wristband
    10. Gets pumped up listening to Kool and the Gang. On his walkman.

  10. @Stat dude – both Greenwich’s and Staples points dropped. Greenwich had 1090 before the forfeit, now has 1080.

  11. Brian says:

    The biggest problem here is that they screwed other schools after the fact. To have this happen a day before states are figured out should be enough to have Mike King Resign or fired. He had a problem with the boys soccer team a year or so ago as well.

  12. tiger fan says:

    The most important question for the LL can Prep beat W Haven to get the tigers in?

  13. stat dude says:

    Thanks, Sean. I think I was looking at the numbers that had already been adjusted.

  14. Concerned Alumni says:

    I think this is what WHS deserves. They are a horrible football program and it hsows that the entire team has no character if they have to cheat in order to get a winning season.

  15. team captain says:

    The Players and coaches are not at fault in this. The NEW coaching staff busted their butts to prepare us for this season. We worked our tails off and did everything that was asked of us. No one can take away what we accomplished on the playing field. I don’t care what people want to say in or on paper. We are so motivated for Thursday’s game!!!

  16. unreal says:

    Sad thing is, Westhill wins those games even without the player in question. Keep your head up boys! Keep your head up Frank. You and your staff are doing a wonderful job. Not your fault. The Stamford comunity has your back on this.

  17. It is a shame that the players have to deal with a black mark on something they had nothing to do with. I think most people won’t take season away from you. …For those who think it was cheating, I sincerely doubt that. I think it was more trying to help a kid out and getting burned. Let’s not go nuts, everyone.

  18. unreal says:

    Sean P. Bowley,

    It had nothing to do with trying to help a kid out and getting burned. It had everything to do with someone not throughy checking to see how many years the kid was in high school. Plain and simple.

  19. unreal says:

    Can’t blame the coach when it keeps happening in more than one sport.

  20. Jake says:

    Too bad for Prep – however, they lost the chance to control their own destiny by losing not one but two games a playoff team has no business losing. If they win either one of those, they’re still in the playoffs with a win over WH.

  21. THS Eagle Pride says:

    For the forfeited games, do the (opposing) player’s stats count, or is the game completely erased like it never happened? I give my son $30 per touchdown and would like to know if he owes it back.

  22. @THS Eagle Pride — Tell your son, keep it. I think the game stats still count. Just not the win/loss.

  23. Irrelevant says:

    @THS Eagle Pride You pay your son to score touchdowns? Get your priorities straight. As far as Greenwich V. Staples if either team wins could they still get the 1 seed or is that Southingtons for the taking?

  24. Dana says:

    I feel bad for Catholic. Best season in years. Two losses for sure but potentially missing playoffs because of another school’s administrative error while others get in because of it is grossly unfair to those kids

  25. nb11211 says:

    @SPB shouldn’t staples and greenwich have lost forty points?

  26. Wilton D says:

    Its a mute point Prep was not and will not beat WH in WH anyway!!

  27. jeb says:

    One of the players or parents had to know the kid in question was in high school five years. If you start with tht person as a freshman and you graduate and the kid is still there a year later..it doesn’t take a genius to figure it out. Shame on all those involved and it’s a travesty that other teams have to be punished.

  28. @NB – No. They’d already beaten some of the other teams. Canceled out. So it’s just 10 each. Coulda been worse.

  29. dave k says:

    The rule is kind of lame. If it takes a kid five years to graduate high school good for him he stuck with it and didn’t drop out. It used to be a kid could play as a fifth year senior if it was his fourth season meaning he sat out a year for bad grades.

  30. MAG says:

    Tiger Fan. My son’s team played both West Haven and Prep. My money is on West Haven. As far as this situation, it is the third time in 14 months that Westhill has ineligible players. AD needs to be replaced. Obviously, he is not doing his due dilligence.

  31. AD101 says:

    I can’t believe this doesn’t happen more often, especially with academic eligibility, etc. I assume if it were a week later they would have gone on with the playoffs as determined at year end? The timing is the piece that seems most irresponsible.

  32. RAY BROWN says:

    WAY TO GO COACH====DO YOU CHECK PLAYERS GRADES DURING YEAR?

  33. wave says:

    Ray Brown continues to be an idiot. Fact is, the issue is that it was the players fifth year of high school, not grades. How is a first year coach supposed to know hes been there for 5 years?

  34. Charger Blue says:

    Ray- you are 100% correct. Fortunately our Ansonia coaches don’t need to worry about eligibility issues like kids from 3 towns over coming to our school, or 16 year old freshmen. Heck, some of our kids can’t even spell SAT, but at least we aren’t forfeiting due to “self reporting”………..what happens in Ansonia stays in Ansonia, right pal? ;)

  35. Master Legend says:

    SPB- this blog needs a “Like” feature for posts. I would love to have “liked” AD101′s top 10 reasons haha

  36. DBS says:

    i love watching people tear apart @raybrown

  37. jeb says:

    If Westhill was undefeated and going to the playoffs and had to forfeit those games then heads would be rolling at Westhill. Mike King is very fortunate that wasn’t the case.

  38. Ben benson says:

    Q and A for Coach Frank:
    Q: did you steal from the Seymour ambulance service?
    A: No. It was a witch hunt by Blumenthal
    Q: Why were you fired from your teaching and coaching job in Bridgeport?
    A: I have no idea never did anything wrong
    Q: Did you know about the ineligible player at Westhill?
    A: No it was AD’s fault

  39. mr fciac says:

    who’s on first, whats on second, i don’t know 3rd base

  40. fciacfan says:

    Don’t forget — Coach Marcucio was on the staff last year….it’s not like he was completely in the dark as to the makeup of his roster.

  41. Honus says:

    @Ben Benson – Wow. Had to Google search to see for myself. Found: http://www.nhregister.com/articles/2008/09/06/news/a1-sey_ambulance.txt?viewmode=fullstory and http://www.ctpost.com/news/article/ELSBERRY-AD-Denton-has-some-questions-to-answer-1468699.php. Controversy does seem to follow the guy, but I guess everyone will need to make up their own minds if it is warranted.

  42. Frank Marcucio says:

    It is amazing how cruel people can be when they are allowed to write anonymous things on newspaper blogs…. SMH …. Sometimes I just don’t get people …… If you really think we would have worked so hard to change the culture of a program to have it all taken away on purpose – or better yet that we planned this then you people are dumber than I give you credit for …. What happened – happened — it wasn’t done on purpose and none of you I suppose have ever made a mistake …. SMH … The only thing we can do is move forward and learn from our mistakes and make things better …. and move on — character is built as a result of how a person handles adversity …. for the record read my Facebook page.

  43. Kent says:

    It’s a huge mistake for anyone to blame the whole westhill team is cheating. Their players works very hard for their best season in a long time, the players has nothing to do with what is anrespinsibility of administration right? So please stop attacking westhill players

  44. former bassick player says:

    if u guy think coach frank is a bad coach u are wrong he got fired from bassick for standing up for us are Ad is a** that coaches football at bunnell high school and doesn’t care about the kids at our school

  45. PapaDags says:

    Frank had the best season this yr that Westhill has seen in who knows how many yrs…it’s been so long….Congrats on turning the program around in just 1 year as head coach…As far as the cheap shots on certain passed issues….they are just that ..past issues…Is there NO compassion from some of you people…talk about beating a dead horse to death..Reminds me of that old saying misery loves company…

  46. GHS1973 says:

    Can one player on defense actually change the outcome in 4 games?…Maybe a star player on offense, I suppose…Seems a shame to punish all the other teams adversely affected due to this relatively minor screw up…

  47. Football maniac says:

    PapaDags,

    Coach Marcucio did turn it around from last couple of years. But trick there is keeping it going. Previous coach went 5-5 in 2006 and 2007 before fading. Time will tell if he is truly the answer.

  48. jeb says:

    Bottom line is if Westhill beats Stamford they will still end up with three wins.

  49. Team captain says:

    For those of you blaming the coaching staff for what happened you are dead wrong. I have been playing football for 10 years and never have I been a part of a team with a harder working more dedicated coaching staff than this one. We know what we accomplished on the field this year and we know that on thanksgiving day we will be playing for our first winning season since 1987. Take all the wins away on paper, no one cares, we won and beat those teams and completely turned a program around. I couldn’t be more proud to be a part of this football family.

  50. RAY BROWN says:

    no one at the school knew this kid was there for 5 years—–lol

  51. RAY BROWN says:

    36—–people hate hearing t6he truth

  52. WHS Player says:

    Bowley what makes you an authority on high school football and what gives any of you the right to criticize us? 1 player didn’t make our defense as shown in the Wilton win. Also, I don’t think one player would of stopped Staples offense. We won and lost with and without him. We never cheated, we broke a rule by accident, but in no way are we cheaters. The punishment fit the crime of breaking a rule but cheating didn’t get us wins and losses, sticking together as a family is what got us this far, and will continue to get us through the rest of this season and the seasons to come.

  53. @WHSPlayer – what are you talking about?

    You know folks, and this goes for Newtown too, everything said on comments isn’t ally my opinion. Only ones with my name underneath, qualifies. The stuff above comments are mine. Yknow, in the actual blog.

    Like, if you’re mad I said the
    Dream season is over (shrug) what can I tell ya? They’re forfeits.

  54. WESTHILL PRIDE says:

    The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.
    Martin Luther King Jr., Strength to Love, 1963

    I am compelled to write to you to address the issue of Westhill High Schools forfeiture of four games. While I can not contest the rules and agree that there was in fact an ineligible player on the team, it is necessary to bring to light some the overwhelming extenuating circumstances faced by the team, coaching staff and administration that by any measure would have devastated most men much less teen age boys.

    Are you aware that Westhill has experienced three tragic student deaths in the last eight months? Two of those deaths teammates of the Varsity team. The third a senior classmate on November 17th, 2012.

    You may have assumed The coaching and administrative staff at Westhill purposely allowed an ineligible player on the team to game their standings or that there was a careless disregard for the CIAC rules. In fact quite the opposite is true and to think otherwise is unconscionable. With such personal loss and devastation occurring this season the focus was on our players as teen boys. This is High School Football, not the NFL. Supporting our sons and school community through tragedy is immensely more important than scrutinizing every detail of every player.

    It is the support, leadership, compassion and teamwork of the coaching staff and the hard work and dedication of the boys that lead to the success the team experienced this year, and, to the 20-6 victory over Stamford High Thanksgiving Day – November 22nd; despite the heavy burden of personal loss the boys shouldered this season. In fact Friday – Black Friday for many of the boys is truly black as they will be attending one teammates memorial and their classmates wake and funeral.

    Our renewed Purple Pride – “Purple Pack” started last year and was the brainchild of one of the three fallen students. This season is a reflection of his legacy. It is the power of the human spirit in the face of adversity and the strength of true moral character that builds a man and a team. Our boys have learned a lifetime of lessons this season, more than many grown men ever learn. Every victory won by Westhill was won for the team and their fallen peers. To quote one player “They can take away the wins on paper, but they can’t take away the wins on the field.”

    The Mission statement of the CIAC – “THE CIAC BELIEVES THAT INTERSCHOLASTIC ATHLETIC PROGRAMS AND COMPETITION ARE AN INTEGRAL PART OF A STUDENT’S ACADEMIC, SOCIAL, EMOTIONAL AND PHYSICAL DEVELOPMENT.” Coach Marcucio and the entire coaching team at Westhill has exceeded that mission in spades!

    WESTHILL and PROUD!!!!

    Anonymous

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