OKLAHOMA CITY -- An ineligible player put the Guthrie Bluejays' perfect season in jeopardy. Wednesday, the school appealed a punishment that would have cost them eight wins.
The Oklahoma Secondary Schools Athletic Association partially affirmed the appeal and the number one team in Class 5A is now back in the race for the championship gold ball.
It was an emotional day for Guthrie senior Clint Simek and his family.
"It's been a pretty hard couple of weeks...and Guthrie's really been there for me," a teary-eyed Simek told the board.
The OSSAA ruled Simek ineligible because of a dual residency issue. The family appealed that ruling, but they were denied.
"Obviously we are very disappointed in the decision. The board confirmed what we already knew that this family did nothing wrong, and this is the family that gets punished," the Simek's attorney said.
"Everything they did was proper," head coach Rafe Watkins said. "It was a paperwork mistake on my part. I feel sorry for them."
The board did overturn the eight game punishment, meaning Guthrie will be allowed to compete in the playoffs with its undefeated record intact.
They'll take the field this weekend without Simek and without head coach Watkins on the sidelines. Neither can participate in the playoffs, which is a punishment Watkins says he'll accept because the most important thing is his Bluejays are back in the championship hunt.
"The boys, the main thing is that they are going to get to be represented in the playoffs. I'm just glad they did the right thing and if I'm the one to blame, then that's who should suffer. I think they made a good choice in there," Watkins said.
Guthrie opens up the playoffs this Friday against Durant in Guthrie.
The OSSAA also said 5A teams have the option of moving those games to Saturday if both schools agree.
The OSSAA Board says Simek will be eligible to play in other sports the rest of the school year.