High school football coach suspended after lopsided victory


Plainedge High School head football coach Rob Shaver has been suspended for one game after allegedly failing to follow a lopsided scores policy. It mandates that coaches of football teams in Nassau County that win by more than 42 points explain what they did to prevent running up the score in an unsportsmanlike fashion. 

The game in question was played last Friday night between Plainedge and South Side, both 6–0 teams. The outcome was a 61–13 victory for Plainedge.

Pat Pizzarelli, the executive director of Section VIII Athletics, the association that oversees middle and high school sports in the county, said the rule was voted on three years ago as a way to keep scores closer and not embarrass the other team.

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

But in a letter to the community, Plainedge Superintendent Edward Salina defended Coach Shaver and questioned Section VIII's committee and motives, calling it a "kangaroo court being the judge, jury, and executioners." He said the coach is an incredible person and has nothing but the best interest of all children at the top of his list every day.

Many parents we spoke to agree with the superintendent. 

"Coach Shaver is an honorable, standup guy. He coached all three of my children, two who have gone on to play Division I athletics," one father said. "This rule doesn't work. It hasn't worked elsewhere and it shouldn't be on Long Island."

"I think the rule is ridiculous," another dad. "It's not teaching them life lessons. It's a joke."

In a phone interview, South Side coach Phil Onesto said he had no issues with the game. 

"I had no issues with how he was running his team," he said. "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."

Under the policy, coaches who demonstrate that the majority of scoring was done by backup players will not be suspended.

Coach Shaver will sit out the next game.

Plainedge isn't planning to appeal the suspension because it doesn't want to jeopardize the coach potentially missing any of the playoff games.


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