A perfect season came to a sudden and shocking end for the Archbishop Murphy High School football team on Friday when the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association Executive Board ruled the Wildcats must forfeit last week’s district playoff win over Bellingham.
The Wildcats beat Bellingham 28-6 on Saturday.
Archbishop Murphy was penalized for using an ineligible player. The violation involved a player whose athletic physical was not up to date, school president Tom Lord said.
“It was an oversight,” said Paul Lesh, the WIAA District 1 eligibility secretary.
Archbishop Murphy had been scheduled to play Mark Morris at 1 p.m. Saturday in the first round of the Class 2A state playoffs. Instead, Mark Morris plays Bellingham on Tuesday at Everett Memorial Stadium.
Archbishop Murphy officials self-reported the violation to the Cascade Conference on Thursday, Lord said. The conference decided to follow guidelines established in the WIAA handbook and ordered Murphy to forfeit the game. That ruling was upheld by the WIAA’s District 1 board and the WIAA District Directors Appeals Board, the WIAA said in a press release.
Murphy appealed the decision to the WIAA Executive Board, which Friday afternoon upheld the decision of the other bodies.
“The WIAA executive board commends Archbishop Murphy High School for alerting the league of this violation,” WIAA Executive Board president Al Falkner said.
Murphy was 10-0 and ranked third in both Class 2A state polls.