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Carson (2-8) Selected for Playoffs : Prep football: Reaction mixed after forfeitures for using an ineligible player.

November 12, 1994|SEAN WATERS | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Can a team with a 2-8 record win the City Section Division 4-A football playoffs?

Carson, which has won nine City championships, will try to be the first.

The Colts, who forfeited three conference games for using an ineligible player, on Friday morning were selected to the 16-team 4-A playoffs despite their record.

The Colts, seeded 12th, will play fifth-seeded Franklin in the first round at 7:30 p.m. Friday at a site to be determined.

"I'm elated for the kids," Carson Coach David Williams said. "They have had so much adversity. All they wanted was a chance to compete."

For the third consecutive season, Sylmar was selected the top-seeded 4-A team, and Reseda was chosen the No. 1-seeded team in 3-A.

Despite the prospects of facing Carson in the semifinals, Sylmar Coach Jeff Engilman supported the team's inclusion in the playoffs.

"I can't see a 4-A playoffs without Carson," Engilman said. "We talked about who was going to match up with whom and we were concerned that we would have to play Carson in the first round."

Other coaches disagreed, especially after Carson broke City eligibility rules.

"I question whether they should be in there," Venice co-Coach Kirk Alexander said. "I know they're one of the top teams in the city. But this is the second time in a calendar year that Carson had to forfeit games for using an ineligible player."

Two weeks ago, the Colts had to forfeit victories over Crenshaw, Wilmington Banning and later Harbor City Narbonne for using an academically ineligible sophomore transfer.

Ineligibility problems are not new to Carson. Last March, the school's boys' basketball team was disqualified from the 4-A semifinals for using an ineligible player.

During the four-hour playoff pairings meeting Friday, an eight-member committee considered the implications of including Carson.

The Colts qualified as one of the section's top 32 teams with a 2-5 conference record, fifth best in the Southern Pacific Conference. Teams were selected based on the strength of their record and the strength of the teams in their conference.

Only six teams--one from each of the city's six conferences--received automatic bids to the 4-A playoffs. Ten at-large teams rounded out the 4-A field and the next best 16 teams were placed in the 3-A playoffs.

The playoffs begin Friday with the first round and continue with the quarterfinals Nov. 23, the semifinals Dec. 2, the 3-A championship Dec. 9 and the 4-A championship Dec. 10.

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