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Dayton Daily News (Ohio)
The Ponitz High School football team will forfeit this Friday's game against Belmont after all the team's players were suspended because of an altercation in last week's game, a school official said.
The incident last Friday came in a game against Northland at Welcome Stadium. Ponitz trailed Northland 43-8 late in the first half when the game was stopped because of an on-field incident, said Dayton Public Schools director of athletics Shawna Welch. All Ponitz players who were not on the field were cited by officials as leaving the bench area and were immediately ejected from the game.
Citing a lack of players, Ponitz forfeited the game to Northland. The 43-8 score counts as a final.
Welch said the Ponitz suspensions would be lifted after this week and Ponitz would play Thurgood Marshall in a regular season-ending game at Welcome Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 27. Ejections carry an automatic one-game suspension in football (two games for all other sports), according to Ohio High School Athletic Association bylaws.
Beau Rugg, the OHSAA's senior director of officiating and sport management, said there would be no additional penalties against Ponitz or DPS athletics.
Last April, the OHSAA extended the DPS athletic probationary period through June 2020 from a previous series of events that were ruled a violation of administrative responsibility and institutional control.
The extended probation came about after the OHSAA ruled that Dunbar used an ineligible player in the boys basketball tournament last season. Dunbar's probation was extended through June 2022, and Dunbar is ineligible to play in the 2019 postseason.
Several Northland football players also were suspended.
"It's always unfortunate when you have an incident that takes place where the young people get out of character and get themselves in a situation in a sport that they love and they chose to participate in taken away," Northland athletic director Mario Bowles said on Wednesday. "As a program, we've moved on."
Northland (6-2), a member of the Columbus City League North Division, is bidding for a spot in the Division II, Region 7 playoffs. The Vikings are a D-I boys state basketball power, having won a state title in 2009 and finishing as runner-up in 2011. Northland has qualified for the football playoffs twice.
Rugg confirmed Belmont will be awarded a 1-0 forfeit win over Ponitz this week.
It was the first time Ponitz and Northland had played in football. Bowles didn't know if the teams were scheduled to play again next season.
"Best wishes to the Ponitz program," he said. "That's an unfortunate situation as well."
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