BROOKFIELD AWAITS DECISION
Warriors could play Edgewood or Beachwood;
OHSAA says ‘several scenarios’ possible
By Doug Chapin
A decision regarding Brookfield High’s football playoff opponent is expected today — the same day the Warriors originally were scheduled to face Ashtabula Edgewood.
The Ohio High School Athletic Association was in the process of determining a course of action after a Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court issued a ruling Thursday afternoon on a temporary restraining order filed by Cleveland Heights High School. The ruling could result in Beachwood High replacing Edgewood as Brookfield’s opponent in the first round of the Division IV playoffs.
A decision by Ashtabula County Common Pleas Court Judge Alfred Mackey Thursday night seemingly put Edgewood back in the playoffs against Brookfield.
“Nothing will be resolved until we hear from the state,” Brookfield athletic director Tim Taylor said. “We obviously don’t think it’s fair for us to play a different opponent tomorrow with one day’s notice. Even if the game is moved to Saturday that still is not a whole lot of time to prepare, limiting us to two days.”
Taylor would not say whether legal action is an option Brookfield is considering.
“I understand the state has challenged the ruling in Cleveland. If that holds up we would play Edgewood as originally planned,” he said. “We will have to wait and see, I guess, until it is decided in the courts.”
Brookfield posted a 10-0 record in the regular season and is the top seeded team in Division IV, Region 13.
Cleveland Heights, which finished ninth in the Division I, Region 1 ratings (only the top eight make the playoffs), appealed to the OHSAA on Sunday regarding a forfeit by Cleveland John F. Kennedy. JFK forfeited a Week 9 victory over John Adams after it discovered a player participated who did not meet Cleveland Metropolitan School District academic standards.
But the OHSAA refused to recognize the forfeit — and did not make changes to the computer ratings — because the school district’s standards are more stringent than OHSAA standards.
Judge Richard McMonagle ruled the OHSAA must accept the JFK forfeit.
The OHSAA released the following statement on Thursday: “The OHSAA was notified today of a Cuyahoga County court’s decision to rule in favor of Cleveland Heights regarding the football eligibility of another school, which results in Cleveland Heights receiving enough computer points to earn the eighth and final spot in the Division I, Region 1 playoffs.
“The OHSAA is working with its legal team and the legal teams of the schools affected by this decision to pursue our next course of action. Because of second-level computer points, the court’s decision has many implications for other teams and regions of the playoffs, which are scheduled to begin Friday night.
“To be clear, the student-athlete in question at the school which forfeited its game was eligible by all OHSAA standards.”
Late Thursday, OHSAA spokesman Tim Stried said Mackey’s apparent ruling could result in “several scenarios” today regarding the two specific playoff games affected. Stried said the OHSAA does not plan to delay the entire tournament or the other games in Regions 1 and 13.
Edgewood defeated Cleveland JFK in Week 10. The second-level points that JFK provided Edgewood by beating John Adams would disappear if the forfeit is upheld. That would be enough for Beachwood to move past the Warriors into eight place.
The same is true in Region 1 where Cleveland Heights, which defeated John Adams, would garner enough second-level points to move past Mayfield if the forfeit is upheld.
“The coaches exchanged film with Beachwood this afternoon but we didn’t get it until about 5:30,” Taylor said. “The coaches are in a quandary. They have to look at the Beachwood film, but may not ever play them. They will spend a late night here because we have to. We don’t know when or who we will play.
“Coach [Randy] Clark was told that Beachwood knew the original court action was filed. They evidently had knowledge and we were told they practiced Monday. I think they knew it was a possibility and they knew they could be the eighth seed and would play us. They have been aware of the situation a longer time than we have.”
The game in question already had been moved from Brookfield’s home stadium to Arrowhead Stadium in Girard due to the rainy weather this week. If the OHSAA pushes the game back to Saturday or Sunday it’s possible it would be played at Brookfield.
“A lot depends on the weather the next couple days,” Taylor said. “We would need a couple good days of weather. We always prefer to play at home but we have to wait for the rain to stop. This is our first home playoff game ever and we would like to play it here.”