J. Thomas McNamara
The Springfield High School football team will be four players short when it hosts Eisenhower Saturday at Memorial Stadium.
Springfield High said three players were ejected last week after coming onto the field during a fight early in its 66-20 Central State Eight Conference victory over Lanphier on Sept. 3. Another was ejected for stepping on a downed player, according to SHS.
Springfield High coach Roy Gully III submitted a written appeal of the ejections and video of the incident to the Illinois High School Association, which said Thursday it does not review video evidence unless a wrong player was identified by a game official.
The ejections will stand, and the players sat out Saturday’s game in Springfield.
Gully said he was thinking about sitting out the game in solidarity with his players, but as of Friday afternoon had not made a final determination.
With 6 minutes, 43 seconds left in the first quarter and SHS leading Lanphier 27-0, the Lions’ second offensive play ended as the first one had: with a lost fumble. Up to that point, the Lions had three lost fumbles, including on a kickoff, and Springfield High had recovered the ball on another kickoff.
Following the play, video appears to show a Lanphier player on top of a Springfield High player throwing punches. That drew players from both teams toward the quarrel. At least one Lanphier player also was ejected and was scheduled to miss the Lions’ game Friday against Normal U-High before Lanphier announced Friday it was going into covid protocol for two weeks
I will have more on this developing story in a future print edition of the Decatur Tribune.