Douglass must forfeit season

15th-ranked Ducks (9-1) used ineligible player

`it's a big disappointment for the kids'



The 15th-ranked Douglass football team must forfeit its season for using an academically ineligible player, erasing the Ducks' nine victories and what would have been only their third winning season since 1989.

The Ducks had won Baltimore City's Division II title and clinched the program's first playoff berth since city schools football teams joined the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association in 1993.

Douglass defeated visiting Southwestern, 39-0, yesterday afternoon to complete its 9-1 regular season.

Second-year coach Joe Holland said he first learned of a possible infraction involving a player three days ago, but that school principal Isabelle Grant and athletic director Mary Hughee assured him that "everything was fine."

Holland said he was told in a meeting with Grant yesterday morning that the "player checked out." Holland said a pep rally, the Southwestern game and a post-game dinner took place with Hughee present and apparently with knowledge that the forfeit was imminent.

"I was told that they [Grant and Hughee] were faxed the information at 1 o'clock, the same time as the pep rally," Holland said.

Hughee could not be reached to comment.

"It's a big disappointment for the kids and us because we did everything right," Holland said. "It's just a big disappointment for our program."

Ned Sparks, the MPSSAA's executive director, said: "It's unfortunate."

Sparks said he was informed by Baltimore City officials by fax at 3 p.m. yesterday that Wesley Holloway had played in every game and that Douglass had to forfeit the season.

Sparks then told John Cox, who tabulates points for the state playoff system, to make "the necessary changes that will benefit every team that [Douglass] has played."

Overlea 17, Loch Raven 0 -- Raynard Horne intercepted a pass and rushed for his 19th and 20th touchdowns of the year, all in the fourth quarter, as the visiting Falcons (8-2, 7-2) won their fourth straight game in Baltimore County 2A-1A league action. Sean Copperland, James Coppagage and Ray Servance registered sacks for Overlea, which has not allowed a touchdown in 18 quarters. Overlea and Loch Raven (8-3, 7-2), whose six-game winning streak ended, have clinched Class 2A North region playoff berths.

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