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Long Island high school football coach suspended for running up the score against previously undefeated foe

USA TODAY High School Sports logo USA TODAY High School Sports 11/1/2019 Cam Smith, USA TODAY High School Sports
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A high school football coach on Long Island, N.Y., has landed a suspension for allegedly running up the score on an opponent.

Plainedge (N.Y.) High School head football coach Rob Shaver was handed a one-game ban for his team's 61-13 blowout victory against South Shore (N.Y.) High. The score was in violation of a "lopsided scores policy" for schools in Nassau County, which includes Plainedge, per the New York Post.

Yet while the final score represented a genuine blowout, the matchup didn't set up to be nearly so one-sided. As noted by the Post, both teams entered the game undefeated, and while Plainedge entered the fourth quarter with a five-possession lead, that kind of an edge is not universally insurmountable in high school football. Extremely unlikely? Sure. Impossible? Not quite.

Still, the lead, combined with Plainedge's decision to continue playing starters and regulars, ran afoul of the sensibilities of the Nassau County lopsided score committee, which came down against a coach for the first time in the three seasons since the rule was unveiled.

That penalty came despite support for Shaver from no other than the vanquished head coach of South Shore, Phil Onesto.

"I had no issue with how the game went," Onesto told Newsday. "I had spoken to coach Shaver, I told him I had no issues."

That sentiment in turn has encouraged Shaver to speak out about the perceived injustice himself. In comments to Newsday, Shaver offered support for the lopsided scores policy, he just felt it was misapplied in this case.

"The spirit of the rule is to prevent better teams from running up on lesser programs and sportsmanship and dignity and all that stuff," Shaver told Newsday. "I get it. That didn't happen."

Shaver will miss Plainedge's game at Lynbrook on Saturday afternoon to serve out his suspension, barring a last minute appeal. The Red Devils enter the game a perfect 7-0 while Lynbrook is 4-3.

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