Denmark-Olar allowed to play

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October 20, 2006

Seniors at Denmark-Olar High School get to finish their last season in Viking uniforms after all...after a setback that nearly cost them the whole season.

Last week, they were told they were suspended, but this week, the High School League has decided to allow Denmark-Olar High School to finish its football season, even after its head coach violated several eligibility rules.

This was a huge break for some seniors on that team.

After working so hard all season long, they were able suit up for those last two games of their careers.

"He's very excited. He's very dedicated to his team now," parent Genie Archer told News 12.

Archie is back in the bleachers after last week's scare that her son and the rest of Denmark-Olar's varsity football team would be suspended.

"Well, he was a little depressed when he heard," she said. "He thought they wasn't going to be able to pay the game or anything, so he was kind of a little depressed about that."

Her son, number 88 sophomore Kenneth Jennings, was just as surprised as everyone to hear former coach and athletic director Willie "Tony" Felder allowed fourteen ineligible players to suit up.

"Things happen in life, you know, not just with teams, so it prepares them for later in life," said acting coach William Thompson. "They can deal with this, they can deal with other problems that come up in life and be able to keep going."

Tonight, they're back in action after an appeal made to the High School League convinced the panel not to punish the entire team.

The move means Denmark-Olar's eight eligible seniors can finish their last season as Vikings.

"They're pumped up," Thompson said.

Genie Archie is one of many who don't want to see the same thing happen again.

"He knew better," she said of Coach Felder. "He'd have to answer to that."

Felder allowed those 14 students to play without things like proper grades, physicals, and birth certificates.

He has resigned, and the school has been fined $2500.

As for the student athletes, we're told they had nothing to do with this.

Those who are eligible played in tonight's game against Blackville-Hilda.

The final score was 44-0, Blackville-Hilda's win.

The Vikings' next game is next week against another tough team: Bamberg-Ehrhardt.