CATAWISSA, COLUMBIA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU)– It’s official, two regional high school football powers in Southern Columbia and Wyoming Area will not be facing off on October 11th.
The PIAA, the schools, as well as their original opponents of Shikellamy and Holy Redeemer, were on board with a September 17th announcement that the two undefeated teams would face off in West Pittston in week eight.
After a September 30th vote by Pennsylvania Heartland Athletic Conference (PHAC) executives, that changed.
“It went against conference by-laws and that’s the reason for the decision,” said PHAC president and Southern Columbia principal Jim Becker. “I’m a firm believer in following rules, following by-laws–I’m also a firm believer in doing what’s best for the kids. When we were trying to get this thing organized–there was no ill will towards anyone. We were trying to do what was best for everyone.”
Controversy ensued as Southern Columbia had not gone through proper procedure to schedule an out of a conference game, which breaks conference by-laws.
With the PHAC decision were threats of major sanctions against the Tigers’ athletic program, had the rescheduled game played out.
“Sanctions that would have not only hurt our football, but hurt our whole school’s athletic program and we were not going to venture in that direction,” said Becker.
The District IV powerhouse avoids sanctions, but players, staff and the community of Wyoming Area are left in the lurch.
“It’s going to hurt businesses, it’s going to hurt the school board,” said Southern Columbia alum and current Wyoming Area parent Justin Adams. “It would have been a great game for the players who, both teams–as you know, are probably subbing out in the first and second quarters. The seniors, unfortunately, don’t get to play and that’s not fair to them.”