Football Team Grows After Disappointing Playoff Decision
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“I think we deserved it,” said varsity football captain Corey Jones. “At the beginning of the season we made goals, and the goals were [becoming] CVC champs and [making the] playoffs. We worked really hard all year to get where we wanted to be, but at the end it still wasn’t enough.”
After much back and forth between the courts, the Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSAA) and regional football teams, the Bison Varsity Football team faced the bitter reality that they would not be advancing to the playoffs. Originally, Cleveland Heights challenged in court a John F. Kennedy forfeit that skewed team rankings. After an initial court decision sided with Cleveland Heights, the Bison were in turn moved from ninth to eighth place in the Division IV rankings, qualifying the Bison for the state playoffs.
This would have been the second time in BHS history that the team qualified. However, on the date of the first scheduled playoff game, the court rescinded the order.
“I think it was an extremely emotional and heart wrenching situation for the team and the coaches,” Athletic Director Ryan Peters wrote in an Email. “The biggest tragedy was that our kids were taken on an unnecessary emotional roller coaster ride. This is the part that upset me the most. Our football players were dragged around in adult problems.”
While the situation created a matrix of confusion, Peters affirmed that he understood the dispute, and responded accordingly.
“I knew what was going on, [every] step of the way. If anybody questioned that we didn’t fight, we did. The fight was picking up our phone and getting the information,” wrote Peters.
In the heat of the hairy process, Peters still wanted to send a responsible message to the community and BHS students.
“For us to try to get in through a technicality that had almost nothing to do with Beachwood is not the way to earn a playoff berth. My personal [preference] was for our team to win another football game. You have to win enough games and rack up enough computer points to earn the right to play in the playoffs. We didn’t win enough games and we didn’t score enough computer points. Winning football games in a court room is not teaching the right life and educational lesson,” wrote Peters.
Head football coach Ryan Williams also stayed calm in the midst of the excitement.
“We knew there was a possibility of us not getting in,” wrote Williams. “But you know you get your hopes up. We were disappointed but they’ll be okay. There’s a lot of disappointment but we were pleased with our team nonetheless.”
These sentiments were passed on to the players, who admitted to the reality of the situation. If they wanted to go to the playoffs, the answer was simple.
“We should have won another game,” said senior linebacker Mike Fields.
Eventually, the team let go of the disappointment, as senior captain Noah Mitchell said, “I was bitter for a little but, and so was the rest of the team. But you can’t stay bitter forever because you can’t change the past.”
In the end, the Bison are proud of their success this season.
“If you want something in life, you have to fight one-hundred percent hard for it,” said Williams. “Our kids did that, and they came out on top, better than any Beachwood team in years.”
Mitchell also commented on the team’s impressive record. “The fact that we won seven games is the most in a long time. We beat West Geauga for the first time in Beachwood history. We took Kirtland down to the wire in overtime, and they’ve won 28 straight games now. We had nine first-team all-conference players.”
All-conference players are athletes recognized as the best players of their position in the conference.
Coach Williams is also most proud of the West Geauga game. “At the end of the season we played three very, very good teams in a row. I’m most proud of the West Geauga game. The kids hung in there, West G. has 70 kids while Beachwood only has 30, but they hung in there and won the game in the end,” said Williams.
Ultimately, the Bison players thanked the coaches for their great season. Of the coaches, Mitchell said, “They’ve always been great. They really know what they’re talking about, they’re very passionate about their jobs and they teach football the right way. They’re positive people to be around.”
Regardless of the disheartening playoff pandemonium, the Bison are headed in the right direction.
“This year’s football team had the best record in a very long time, and that’s a great accomplishment to be a part of for my senior year,” said Fields.