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North Valley forfeits all seven games

MERLIN — The North Valley High football team forfeited its first seven games of this season on Wednesday due to an ineligible player.

North Valley High Principal Dennis Misner said the student, whom he did not identify for privacy reasons, is a senior but did not have the required 17.5 credits at the beginning of the school year.

Misner said the school verifies academic eligibility in two ways: 1. Students must take a certain number of classes each semester and pass a certain number of them. 2. The student must have a certain number of credits entering each school year based on the student's grade level.

The student did not attend North Valley during the previous trimester, Misner said, and due diligence had not been fully completed this year.

"If we had known this at the beginning of the season, he wouldn't have played football at all," Misner said.

Misner said the school had been reviewing the grades of all players for postseason awards purposes when the error was found.

The principal said the blame falls on him, not the coaches or anyone else in the administration office, including first-year Athletic Director Justin Parker.

He also said the student was not at fault. The office had cleared him to play.

"We missed accounting for this kid," Misner said. "It was an administrative oversight."

North Valley was 3-4 overall and 2-2 in the Skyline Conference before the forfeits.

Parker is the third athletic director at the school in the last three years. He was unavailable for comment.

North Valley, which had been in the hunt for a postseason berth, now will try to get its first official win this week at cross-valley rival Hidden Valley.

"Every week, it's a one-week season," North Valley coach Neil DeForrest said. "That's the way we were preaching it prior to any of this. This is still the way we we're preaching it. It's the only game they have left."

NV senior defensive end Matt Wytcherley said the team needs to come together instead of pointing fingers.

"This is a point in time when we need each other more than ever right now," Wytcherley said. "We can't think about this and calling people out that this is your fault, this is their fault. This is the administration's fault. No. We can't do that. We need to be together, and be the close-knit group of guys that we've been all season."

The Mustangs in 2011 faced a situation similar to North Valley's current issue. Hidden Valley used an ineligible player for the entire season, only to catch the error as the player signed up for the basketball team.

The HV player transferred in from out of state and was listed as a freshman, but was in his second year of high school.