SEFFNER - Eight Armwood High varsity football players could be suspended for tonight's regular-season opener against Plant after being caught Thursday skipping a morning class for the second time in two days.
Armwood coach Sean Callahan said he will decide today whether to sit the eight varsity players, including starting quarterback Mywan Jackson. One junior varsity player also is among the group being disciplined.
All of the players were held out of Thursday's practice and will receive two days of in-school suspension, Callahan said. However, there will be more punishment for each player, Callahan said.
'I'm very disciplined, I'm very on the ball with all my players, and for them to challenge me, for nine kids to do this after I told them the day before I was going to check on them, it was a complete slap in my face,' Callahan said, adding the punishment will be the same for all the players. 'I've never been one to mince words with stuff like this. I'm trying to be open about playing them. I've got to see them today and see how much they're hurting.
At practice Thursday, Callahan said he would meet with each player, the player's parents, school administrators and captains to decide on the penalties. Callahan reiterated late Thursday no decision had been made on whether to bench the players.
Jackson, who was scheduled to make his first varsity start at quarterback, was the only player who could be confirmed as one of the eight varsity players. None of the Hawks' most notable players - tailback Eric Smith, linebacker Petey Smith, offensive lineman Matt Patchan and defensive linemen Sergio Joyner and Ryne Giddins - were among those in question, as all were at practice Thursday. Callahan said there were '5 1/2 starters' among the group; three on defense, two on offense and one who gets significant playing time.
In Jackson's absence at Thursday's practice, junior Rob Jones worked with the first-team offense and will get the start if Jackson does not suit up, Callahan said.
'The timing of this incident was bad, but I'll turn it into a positive somehow,' Callahan said. 'I'm torn, because the kids have worked so hard and they are all good kids that just made a bad mistake. I told the guys Wednesday in a team meeting that we were going to face some adversity this season. I just didn't expect it to come 12 hours later.'