Florida Football Team Forfeits 6 Wins, District Title
The school’s weeklong investigation, prompted by a report in the Sun Sentinel, was completed Monday, and its findings were sent to the Florida High School Athletic Association.
Seniors Henry Lambert, Justin Seays and Hergy Auguste were all found to be using false addresses to play for the Cobra football team this year. The football program will now willingly forfeit the six victories from the seven games the three seniors participated in, costing the Cobras its District 14-7A title.
The FHSAA can further sanction the program, by fines or probation, after receiving the report, if it elects to do so.
Former Boyd Anderson volunteer assistant football coach Amanuel “Manny” Joseph told the Sun Sentinel in October that he falsified documents to allow the three students to play for the team. The three seniors had used the addresses of Joseph and his unknowing neighbor to establish residency to play for Boyd Anderson.
The Sun Sentinel found the students maintained primary addresses outside of Boyd Anderson’s boundaries and obtained a letter from the school addressed to one of the students at the neighbor’s address.
The Sun Sentinel alerted Broward County Director of Athletics and Student Activities Damian Huttenhoff to its findings. Huttenhoff notified the school Oct. 27 and the three players were removed from the Boyd Anderson roster before its game against district opponent Blanche Ely, a 14-6 win.
The Cobras did not use the players again Friday night against district opponent Coconut Creek, a 48-0 victory. Boyd Anderson clinched the District 14-7A title after the win over Ely and ended the season undefeated in district play at 5-0. Boyd Anderson last won a district title in 2008. The Cobras record falls from 8-1 to 2-7.
Boyd Anderson first-year coach Wayne Blair would not comment Monday on the situation, but did say, “We will be back. We will be back stronger.”
After the forfeiture, Northeast (6-3, 5-0) became the District 14-7A champion, with Blanche Ely (7-2, 4-1) sliding into the runner-up spot. Both teams advanced to the playoffs, which start next week. Northeast will host Royal Palm Beach and Ely will play at Dwyer.
“It’s unfortunate,” said Blanche Ely coach Rodney Gray. “You hear of all the these stories and to see it play out is disappointing. It gives the county a black eye.”
Northeast coach Donnell Bennett said it didn’t matter whether the team is runner-up or district champ, “We’re all 0-0 and we have to go into the playoffs and be ready.
“It’s an unfortunate situation, but we’ve been concentrating on ourselves, so we can do what we need to do and be where we need to be. We need to keep moving,” Bennett said.
The athletes were declared ineligible and can no longer represent any member school, in any sport, for one year from date of discovery, according to FHSAA rule 126.96.36.199.
Multiple attempts to reach the three former football players proved unsuccessful.
The state can impose additional financial penalties for the violations, ranging from a minimum fine of $100 per student per game to $2,500 per student per game, a maximum total fine of $52,500. The FHSAA can also impose administrative probation and other undisclosed financial penalties.