Wayne Hills wins despite suspension of 9 players

December 3, 2011 8:44:05 PM PST
There was a state championship on the line Saturday for some high school football players from New Jersey on Saturday.

But nine teammates from the Wayne Hills High School team did not play in the title match after a state education official upheld their suspension.

With or without them, Wayne Hills High was still victorious, beating Old Tappan 15-12.

Before the game, the players and their lawyers wouldn't speak on camera and even Wayne Hills students here for the game would not comment.

The controversy: is the suspension just?

Should the nine Wayne Hills starters be forced to sit out the championship game?

"They made the right decision. It's more than just about the sports, it's about teaching kids responsibility, consequences for your actions. And hopefully what they learn now, later on in life it will serve them better," one parent said.

Police charged them with aggravated assault for allegedly beating up two kids from Wayne Valley High School. One was beaten unconscious.

Attorneys for the players asked that the game suspensions be lifted pending the outcome of the criminal case.

"Let it run its course. I think the players should be able to play. I think it didn't involve the school, the activities on the school or school function so I think the court should let them play," parent Bill Strohmeyer said.

School officials allowed the nine to compete in two playoff games after the arrests and those decisions generated debate among students and parents.

"Morally I think the right decision was made for them to not play tonight. And I hope the truth comes out and my heart goes out to the family of the, you know, the two kids that were hurt the most by it," another parent said outside the stadium.

A lawyer for one of the suspended players says that the quicker this blows over, the better it will be for everyone.