North Lenoir forfeits win over West Montgomery
By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on August 28, 2012 1:48 PM
One of Calvin Sutton's most unforgettable wins during his tenure at North Lenoir just became more infamous.
Sutton announced Monday that the Hawks were forced to forfeit their 19-14 victory over West Montgomery due to the use of an ineligible player.
The player's ineligibility was discovered on Monday.
Sutton inadvertently listed the player as a sophomore on the roster when he was not promoted from freshman status.
"We have a player that was a credit short of being promoted," Sutton said. "We have already contacted the North Carolina High School Athletic Association and West Montgomery. As much as I pride myself on paperwork and eligibility, we had one slip through the cracks.
"This is not going to deter us. We are going to handle business this week and move forward."
Sutton informed his players of the forfeit at study hall on Monday afternoon once school was dismissed. The fourth-year North Lenoir head coach does not expect the unfortunate news to alter his team's mindset.
"I'm coaching a mentally tough bunch," Sutton said. "Unfortunately, stuff like this happens. We prepare to win every week and the practice mentality or attitude does not change."
Sutton took a calculated risk during Friday night's game with West Montgomery. He elected to call a fake punt on fourth-and-three from the North Lenoir 27-yard line with the Hawks clinging to a 19-14 lead and 1:52 left in the game.
Punter Caleb Baird fielded a low snap, rumbled for six yards and a first down. North Lenoir ran out the clock and iced what, at the time, was just the program's sixth win in the past three years.
"We noticed on film that the week before West Montgomery kind of manned up in their punt return," Sutton said. "So, I knew there was a good opportunity to run a fake punt in that game. We practice those fakes every day."
Despite having just 21 players in uniform in their opener two weeks ago, the Hawks (0-2 overall) showed signs of improvement in a 21-19 loss at Greene Central. North Lenoir's roster has grown since then and Sutton anticipated gaining more players when the school year began Monday.
Although the Hawks' record during his tenure may not be reflective of the work being put in on a daily basis, Sutton remains adamant that North Lenoir is continuing to take steps in the right direction.
"The silver lining isn't in the (West Montgomery) game, but it is in the growth and maturity in the program as a whole," Sutton said. "It is like night and day since I first got here. What has happened doesn't take away from how we are playing football.
"We played good last year, but it doesn't translate into wins and losses. This year it would be nice to reap the dividends of our hard work, but we still have a lot of football left to go."
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