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Ineligible player costs Adams HS 4 forfeits

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The John Adams football team had to forfeit its first four games of the season because the Spartans competed with an ineligible player.

Adams, which was likely headed to the playoffs, will now most likely miss the postseason with a .500 record, the New York Post has learned, despite beating PSAL Bowl division first-place team Beach Channel 28-12 Sunday.

Third-string running back Antoine Arnold, who played at Bayside last year, competed in the four games — wins over Columbus, Automotive, South Bronx and August Martin — in what Adams Coach Gerry Weitzen described as garbage time. He had seven carries for 39 yards, 16 tackles and three fumble recoveries, according to PSAL.org.

Weitzen said Arnold was at Bayside last year for two months before transferring to Adams because it was a much easier commute from his Far Rockaway home. The coach presented that information at a hearing this past week at the PSAL’s headquarters in Long Island City, but Arnold was still ruled ineligible and the Spartans were forced to forfeit the four games. He played in all nine games at Bayside last year, notching 35 tackles, two fumble recoveries and a sack.

Weitzen said he was unaware Arnold transferred in from Bayside and he in no way was recruited to play for Adams by him or his coaching staff. His status was overlooked at the beginning of the season and the coach said the PSAL didn’t say anything until Arnold played in four games.

City Department of Education spokeswoman Margie Feinberg did not immediately return an e-mail Sunday afternoon.

“You want to punish me? Punish me,” Weitzen said. “Punish the AD [Thomas Glass]. But don’t punish 50 innocent kids. They didn’t do anything.”

The longtime head man pointed to all the controversy this year and wondered why his team was penalized so harshly. Flushing and Clinton had to forfeit two games each due to a brawl. Boys & Girls Coaches Barry O’Connor and Clive Harding were suspended one game apiece after refusing to leave the field after being ejected against Campus Magnet and a volunteer assistant, Dwayne Miller, was fired for mooning a crowd of fans.

“We should have had a brawl,” Weitzen joked. “We should have had a fight. I should have mooned somebody.”

Weitzen was incredibly proud of his team Sunday, though. In a game that might end up meaning nothing as far as the postseason, Adams (4-5) took it to the best team in the division, scoring more points than Beach Channel (8-1) had given up in all its other games combined (26).

“I told them, ‘We have to make Beach Channel a championship game,’” Weitzen said. “It was like a playoff game. And they really responded.”

Brandon Oliveras had 94 rushing yards and a 7-yard touchdown, Brandon Wilson had two touchdown runs of 20 and 15 yards and Kevin Baker also scored on the ground. Quarterback Danny Perez found Shane Hubbard for a 20-yard scoring strike.

“They played like champions,” Weitzen said.

Even though they probably no longer have a chance to be.

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