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Serra High School Slapped With 2-Year Postseason Ban For Skipping Consolation Playoff Game

SAN MATEO (CBS SF) -- Serra High School's varsity football team has been banned from postseason play for the next two seasons after the team's head coach refused to play in a consolation game last month.

In addition to the football team's postseason ban, the Central Coast Section on Thursday placed all teams from the Catholic boys' school in San Mateo on probation through the end of the 2015-16 athletic season and fined the school $6,000 in restitution for the canceled game.

Varsity football head coach Patrick Walsh said he made the decision to forfeit the consolation game against Milpitas over concerns about the players' health.

For 2014, CCS enacted a consolation bracket for the playoffs, which meant a team losing in the first round had the possibility of playing two more games, instead of being done for the season as was previously the case.

Serra lost 28-0 to Los Gatos in the first round and then played another game, beating Palma-Salinas 28-14 in a game that both team's reportedly treated like a glorified scrimmage..

Serra reportedly notified CCS just hours before the December 5th game against Milpitas that it would forfeit.

According to a CCS press release from CCS commissioner Nancy Lazenby Blaser: "[Serra] knowingly decided to disregard its commitment to complete scheduled competitions. … This decision caused Serra to violate the bylaws of the [California Interscholastic Federation] and the CCS Board of Managers and its member schools.

"Allowing school leaders to determine that it need not continue with scheduled competitions when a school decides that such a competition is not important enough to play, undermines the very foundation of an organization like the CCS, formed by its member schools."

Blaser also said in the release that Serra admitted it would have played the game if there was more than fifth place at stake.

"If Serra was concerned with the playoff format and had safety concerns based on its team composition, it should not have agreed to enter the playoffs, thereby excluding another team desiring to participate," Blaser said in the release.

In a statement, Walsh said he should have made the decision not to play earlier.

"I stand behind my decision to this day and will never feel otherwise. ... I only had the best interest of our players' health in mind. At the time I was making the decision I knew my only regret was that I should have made this determination sooner.

Walsh also said the school would explore its options regarding a possible appeal.

The CCS added consolation games in its Open Division as a test run as the California Interscholastic Federation seeks to possibly expand the State Bowl Championships.

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