It could have been a storybook ending. Instead, the rulebook cost J.O. Johnson (Huntsville, Ala.) a shot at playoff glory in the school’s final year.
Johnson was forced to forfeit four wins over use of an ineligible player, turning a 6-3 record into a disappointing 2-7 mark. So instead of preparing for the playoffs and a chance at a memorable playoff run in the team’s final season, the Jaguars are left wondering what could have been. The school will close at the end of the year to make way for Huntsville’s new Jemison High School.
J.O. Johnson self-reported the violation and explained the decision in a press release:
“Under AHSAA rules, the school zone lines for an AHSAA member private school in Huntsville would include the entire city limits. This means that all five public high school zones in Huntsville are included in the school zone for any private school in Huntsville that is a member of the AHSAA.”
Johnson had been seeded third in Alabama’s Region 8 playoffs, but now Lawrence County (Moulton, Ala.) will take over the third seed and previously eliminated West Point (Cullman, Ala.) will be seeded fourth.