SVC declared East Valley champ due to Grace Brethren forfeit


The CIF-SS announced this afternoon that Grace Brethren has forfeited Saturday's East Valley championship game against Saddleback Valley Christian due to rule violations.

The school self-reported the use of an ineligible player during the regular season and the postseason.

Saddleback Valley Christian has been declared the CIF-SS champion and advances to the CIF State regional playoffs, which begin next week. It is the first CIF-SS football title for the school.

"I’m a little bit upset because we prepared all week, we were excited for the opportunity to play in a CIF championship game," SVC coach Brendan Chambers said. "With that said, we’re super excited that we are CIF champions, we get to bring home the first one in school history, and I’m super excited for the boys too and all the hard work they put in."

Chambers added that the chance to continue the season in the regional playoffs took some of the sting out of the situation.

"If this were the end of the season, it would have been a little anticlimactic," he said. "We really wanted to play the game either way, just because we’ve prepared all week and we were ready for it. If that meant we lost, we lost, but at the same time, the kids are excited, I’m excited and to have the chance to move on and play another game will be fun for us.”

Chambers said he found out about the forfeit around 2 p.m. today, right before a team meeting.

He said when he told the players about the situation and that they were CIF champions, "They went ballistic, they were so happy, screaming and yelling because of all the hard work they put in."

He added: "Obviously there was sadness because we all wanted to play that game, but when I told them we had the opportunity for another next week they were pumped up again."

The other team to consider in this situation is Brethren Christian, which lost to Grace Brethren, 46-41, last week in the semifinals. At one point in that game, Brethren Christian held a 27-point lead. 

While Warriors coach Pat McInally was complimentary of the CIF-SS and how it handled the ruling, he said there was a clear sense of “what if” surrounding Brethren’s coaches and players.

“It’s definitely disappointing because – from my understanding – the infraction began from game one,” McInally explained. “So in September it was very clear cut this player, evidently, was not eligible for varsity.

“We would’ve been happy to play SVC (in the final) …  But as it was explained to me, even though we were the most recent team to play (Grace Brethren), it doesn’t supersede a Mary Star of the Sea, which (Grace Brethren) played in the first round.”

The Warriors receive a forfeit victory from last last week's game and officially finish the season with a 12-1 record.

"We would’ve welcomed the opportunity (to play in the final), but I thought (CIF Commissioner) Rob (Wigod) handled it really well," McInally said.

“It’s an impossible situation. And there’s really no options because it’s literally the day before the (championship) game. We would’ve been ready had this been disclosed before.”

* * *     * * *     * * *    * * * 

Here is the full press release from the CIF-SS:

LOS ALAMITOS – Grace Brethren High School has self-reported the use of an ineligible player on their varsity football team during both the regular-season and post-season. Due to that fact, Grace Brethren will be forfeiting their East Valley Championship contest scheduled for tomorrow at San Clemente High School.

CIF Southern Section Constitution and Bylaws Rule 500.2 states:

Forfeiture Status - Any athletic contest in which an ineligible student has participated either
intentionally or unintentionally, must be forfeited unless provided for otherwise in the adopted
playing rules of that sport. When a school must forfeit any games, a win and a tie must be counted as losses in the standings. This would apply to any practice, league, or playoff game, match, meet or sanctioned event. Report of such forfeiture must be filed with the CIF Southern Section Office and the opposing school.

As this situation regards playoffs CIF-SS Bylaw 3211 states:

An ineligible player is one who is in violation of any State CIF or Section scholastic residence,
transfer, age, semesters of attendance, or other eligibility rules.

A. Games in which the student participated, after the occurrence of the violation shall be forfeited (See Bylaw 500.2)
B. From the time the CIF Southern Section Office receives the entries from the league, violations discovered will be assessed only against the individual(s) and will not affect the advancement of a team into the playoffs.
C. Violations discovered after the first round of any playoff will result in disqualification of the
ineligible player’s team from the playoffs and forfeiture of its last playoff competition. In such cases, the losing team will advance provided the date of the next scheduled contest has not elapsed (In this case, the next scheduled contest would have been after Grace Brethren’s first-round game making it impossible to advance the three teams Grace Brethren subsequently defeated). 

Saddleback Valley Christian will be declared the CIF Southern Section East Valley Division Football Champion and will move on to the CIF State Football Championship Regional Finals next week against an opponent and on a date and time to be decided later.

The CIF Southern Section will have no further comment on this matter and will direct all inquiries back to Grace Brethren High School to comment as they see fit.

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