Patriots may not get shot at state title

On Wednesday, Andrew Young coached the Patriots to a win that earned them a berth into the state finals. Today, that berth was taken away by the South Carolina High School League.

The South Carolina High School League has booted Fort Dorchester out of the playoffs, at least temporarily.

The league issued a press release today stating “After a comprehensive investigation by members of the South Carolina High School League staff, the Fort Dorchester High School wrestling team will not be allowed to compete in the AAAAA State Wrestling Duals Championship due to an ineligible wrestler. The AAAAA Championship Match (regularly scheduled for Saturday, February 10, 2018) is postponed until further notice.”

Under league guidelines, if an athlete is found to be ineligible then the team he or she competes for must forfeit all contests that athlete participated in that school year.

Fort Dorchester is appealing the forfeiture. Fort Dorchester Athletic Director Steve LaPrad and wrestling coach Andrew Young were not available for comment early Friday afternoon. However, through an email LaPrad did confirm the 5A match has been postponed.

The league’s Executive Committee could have a hearing on the appeal as soon as Monday. Once the appeal process is complete, the 5A state title match will be rescheduled.

“Accusations presented to the SCHSL must provide probable cause for an investigation to occur and be found valid after a detailed inquiry,” league Commissioner Jerome Singleton said. “The SCHSL regrets the schedule change for all student athletes and coaches involved.”

Fort Dorchester defeated River Bluff 40-26 in the 5A Lower State semifinal of the duals playoffs Feb. 7 to originally advance to the state finals. Unless the ruling is overturned during the appeals process, River Bluff will represent the Lower State in the state title match against Rock Hill, which defeated Byrnes 44-18 in the Upper State semifinal.