High school football coach suspended after team earns lopsided victory

New York high school football coach suspended for allegedly running up the score

MASSAPEQUA, N.Y. — A high school football coach in New York was suspended for one game after a special athletic committee determined he ran up the score against an opponent.

Robert Shaver, who coaches at Plainedge High School in North Massapequa, sat out Saturday's game against Lynbrook High. The coach was punished for his team's 61-13 victory Oct. 25 against unbeaten South Side High School, The New York Times reported.

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Shaver, whose team was also unbeaten heading into the game, is the first coach suspended under a Nassau County rule adopted three years ago. The rule stipulates that coaches of football teams that win by more than 42 points must explain what they did to prevent running up the score, WNYW reported.

Officials with Section VIII Athletics, the association that oversees middle and high school sports in Nassau County, were not satisfied with Shaver's explanation. The committee ruled Plainedge's starters should have been pulled from the game at the start of the fourth quarter, the television station reported.

"Their first team played in the fourth quarter. … and I think that's what swayed the committee," Pat Pizzarelli, the executive director of the association, told WNYW. "Is it worth beating a team 70–0? Isn't 30 or 40 points enough?"

Shaver, who has coached at Plainedge for more than two decades, told the Times in a telephone conversation he did not appeal the suspension because he did not want to create a distraction as his team focused on the upcoming playoffs.

“I don’t want to make it into a bigger deal than it already is,” Shaver told the newspaper.

South Side coach Phil Onesto told WNYW he was not upset by the score.

"I had no issues with how he was running his team," Onesto said in a telephone interview. "Even after the game, Coach Shaver and I, we spoke and there was no bad blood. I congratulated him on the win and wished him luck next week."

Plainedge, without Shaver coaching on the sidelines, defeated Lynbrook 36-0 on Saturday.

Bruce Howard, an official with the National Federation of State High School Associations, told the Times that games with lopsided scores are normally handled with a running clock.

“I have not heard of that kind of deal,” Howard told the newspaper about the Nassau County policy.

Last month, Kyle Williams, a youth coach for the Conshohocken Golden Bears in Pennsylvania faced a $500 fine after he allowed his team to run up the score in a game, WCAU reported.