A middle school football semi-final playoff game will go on after the head coach of the Fruit Cove Middle football team apologized, stating both he and the assistant coach will resign for the remainder of the season.
This comes after allegations that the team's coaches bullied the girls soccer team to get them off the practice field Monday night, so the football team could prepare for their big game.
It was heartbreak for Fruit Cove Middle School football after learning last night their semi-final game against Switzerland Point would be cancelled. The team was informed in a letter less than 24 hours before the game time, due to alleged conduct Monday evening.
An incident statement written by one parent of a soccer player and sent to the league alleges the soccer team had the right to the field and had a permit. That parent alleges the coaches ignored the permits and said the football team didn't need them to be there.
The parent alleged the football coaches, Jonathan Calhoun and Rick Butler, used profanity.
A dad of one of the football players said soccer parents turned on their car alarms when the football team was practicing.
In his apology to parents, coaches and the soccer team, Coach Calhoun said he should have handled it differently, but said what he did doesn't warrant the punishment imposed.
To the SJMSAA Board, Coaches, Parents, and Soccer Team and School Administration:
On behalf of myself, the Fruit Cove Middle School Football coaching staff, and the Fruit Cove Middle School Football Team, I write this letter to apologize for any behavior that the Board, coaches, parents, students, or the Fruit Cove Middle School Administration or soccer teams found to be offensive, including the incident that occurred on Monday night in Plantation Park. Hindsight being 20/20, I would have handled the situation differently, but I do not believe that the incident warrants the penalty imposed by the SJMSAA — dissolving the Fruit Cove Middle School Football team and depriving the players' from trying to win a championship.
Throughout the season I have endeavored to push my players to succeed. Football is an aggressive game and perhaps my aggressive approach to coaching rubs some people the wrong way. One thing is clear, however, this situation is not about me, or the parents, or the other coaches, or the SJMSAA … it is all about the kids.
Accordingly, without admitting any wrongdoing, and at the specific request of the SJMSAA Board, I and my Assistant Coach Rick Butler will agree to resign from our volunteer coaching positions with the Fruit Cove Middle School Football Team for the remainder of the 2017-18 season solely so that our kids can do what they have been practicing to do all year — play football.