Parker cancels game at Oak Mtn. hours before kickoff

Published 2:10 am Saturday, August 23, 2008

Canceling a game due to injuries or weather is one thing, but canceling a game less than three hours before kickoff because only 13 players are eligible is entirely different.

Such was the case for Parker High School, who called off its preseason game at Oak Mountain High School at 4:36 p.m. Friday. Kickoff was scheduled for 7 p.m.

“I’m very disappointed. I’m disappointed for our kids. I’m disappointed for Parker’s kids. That’s not the way business should be handled. This is another black eye on the organization of that (the Birmingham City) school system, and I’m a product of that system,” said Oak Mountain head coach Jerry Hood, who went to high school at Huffman High.

The reason for the cancellation was that 43 Parker players were ineligible for the game because of paper work required by the city school system, thus leaving only 13 players able to play Friday, according to Hood. The game was canceled at 2:43 p.m., and then Hood was later told the game would be played, before the Parker athletic director called in the final cancellation at 4:36 p.m.

Hood and his coaching staff attended the Pelham/North Gwinnett game since the preseason game was called off and was able to get a sneak peak at their Week One opponent.

“It really helped to watch. We had our staff here and got a good look at (Pelham’s) size and execution. They’re an excellent football team. They’re going to be right up there with everyone else [in Class 6A, Region 6] fighting it out,” Hood said.

While Hood was glad to be able to see Pelham in person, he’d much rather been able to play a game Friday. The cancellation may change how Hood and Oak Mountain schedules opponents in the future.

“This has probably stunted the relationship between us, at least Oak Mountain, and Birmingham. I can’t speak for the whole county, but people who know me know I’m pretty square dealing, and if I’m not going to do it, they’re going to be scared to do it because they don’t want this to happen to them,” Hood said.