It was a game the Pro-Vision Academy football team worked all season for: the state championship.
They won the big game, but the high school team from Houston’s Sunnyside area is now giving up its title because one of its players was too old to play.
This isn’t the way either team wanted to lose — or win — their first 11-man state championship.
However, the head of the league and coach of the new state champions both says the way Pro-Vision Academy handled the aftermath of the oversight is a lesson to players on both teams.
It’s the heartbreaking loss for one team that became the heartbreaking loss for the other.
“This was a big deal,” said Darryl Crain, Executive Director of the Texas Christian Athletic League. “So for (Pro-Vision Academy) to initiate and take the actions that they did, and to be so transparent, was really not only a testament to their school but also to the members of our organization.”
The head of Pro-Vision Academy in Sunnyside on Thursday voluntarily handed over his team’s 11-man state football title to the runner up, the Tomball Christian Warriors, after their last-second 26-23 victory over Thanksgiving weekend in Houston.
“Because of their professionalism and what they did, we’re not going to find any more sanctions,” Crain said. “We’ll be able to more clearly (state) what needs to go on, reiterate what has to happen for certain individuals that may be over the age limit.”
Crain says after a complaint from Tomball Christian, Pro-Vision’s principal investigated and found they did have a 19-year old player, who might have been eligible, however “there was a waiver that was not filled out for that particular player.”
“I have nothing but the utmost respect for Pro-Vision and the way they handled this,” said Jack Frey, head coach for the Tomball Christian Warriors.
Frey says while he and his kids are excited to be 11-man champs for the first time, it’s not the way either team wanted this to go.
“I think this is something for both teams that they’re able to look back at and say, ‘Hey, we’ve learned from this.'”