BY JIM MISUNAS
MOSCOW — The Moscow Wildcat football team should be preparing for an Eight-Man 2 playoff showdown against South Barber Friday night.
After all, the Wildcats (3-4, 3-1 District) defeated Rolla 52-6 in last week’s Eight-Man 2, District 8 football game. However, Rolla (2-6, 2-2 District) advanced to Friday’s playoff game against South Barber, thanks to an obscure KSHSAA forfeit rule.
The Wildcats rallied from an 0-4 start with District wins over Deerfield 86-0, Minneola 48-0 and Rolla 52-6 — all with eight players.
There was never a doubt that Moscow deserved a playoff berth behind District champion Ingalls. Moscow placed runner-up in the District, but had nothing to celebrate. Rolla didn’t celebrate much either after losing 52-6.
However, the Wildcats were shocked and surprised after they discovered a forfeit loss to Ingalls cost them an opportunity to compete in the state football playoffs. A little-known KSHSAA rule disqualifies football teams that forfeit a District game from competing in the state playoffs.
The Wildcats were down to seven players when the decision was made to stop the Sept. 29 game against Ingalls.
“No, we were not aware that if we forfeited a District game that it would make us disqualified for playoff contention,” said Moscow coach Tayler Stull, a McCracken native who played football at LaCrosse High School and Bethany College.
Had Stull known that rule, the Wildcats could’ve handled the Ingalls ballgame differently. A team is also allowed to play with less than eight players.
“We started the Friday of the game with nine healthy players,” Stull said. “We had one of our players have a seizure during the school day, so he wasn’t able to play. We started the game with eight. Four minutes into the game, one of our guys fainted when he went down in his stance. We knew that we couldn’t play with just seven players. So, we actually started the game with only eight players and then we lost one during the game.”
Had the game progressed past halftime, The Ingalls-Moscow would’ve been official.
“They just ruled that we didn’t play enough of the game against Ingalls for it to count,” Stull said.