Another chance for the Goose Creek Gators
The Goose Creek High School football team didn’t get a chance to win its second straight state football championship last fall. But the school’s boys basketball team can capture the state Class AAAA title tonight against mighty Irmo at Columbia’s Colonial Life Center.
And regardless of that showdown’s outcome, the Gator football team, abruptly sidelined during the playoffs last season after recording its 26th consecutive victory, might gain another form of consolation in our state’s capital city.
Rep. Joe Daning, R-Goose Creek, has introduced a bill that would, in effect, replace the South Carolina High School League, turning its authority over to the state Department of Education.
His motive: The league harshly barred Goose Creek from the football playoffs after school officials discovered the inadvertent use of an ineligible player on the field last season.
The player appeared only in games that the Gators were already winning by large margins. Thus, he had no effect on the outcomes.
But the league came down hard on Goose Creek High —and on those players who had done nothing wrong.
Yes, the school deserved to be penalized for its self-reported mistake.
In that controversial case, though, depriving those players of going for another state title — they were a mere two victories away — was tantamount to imposing multiple 15-yard penalties and ejections for a false start.
At least the basketball Gators will have the opportunity to win — or lose — the state championship tonight in the athletic arena.
While 28-0 Irmo is obviously a formidable foe, Goose Creek is an impressive 22-4. And the Gators were an amazing 33-of-36 at the foul line last week during their 57-47 Lower State final victory over Sumter.
Perhaps Dwight Howard, who is making $19.2 million this season to play for the Los Angeles Lakers and went a miserable 3-of-14 on free throws in Monday night’s 119-108 loss at Denver, could use some pointers from those Goose Creek players.
And perhaps the South Carolina High School League is about to learn an overdue lesson of its own.