The Thanksgiving Day football game between Maynard High School and Clinton High School has been canceled after four Maynard players were discovered intoxicated on the night of the homecoming dance, a school official said today.
Maynard Superintendent Mark R. Masterson said in a statement that three students arrived drunk to the dance Friday. He said the incident prompted Maynard police to visit a residence in town, where they found two more intoxicated students, one of whom was placed in protective custody until his parents came home.
Masterson said in a telephone interview that four of the students are upperclassmen on the football team and the fifth student is not an athlete. He said the players were barred from Thursday's game and the first 25 percent of games in their next sport season, per guidelines of the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association.
"With only 12 remaining players the Maynard High School football coaches can not safely field a team for the annual Thanksgiving Day game against Clinton," Masterson said in his statement.
He added that three of the players were given disciplinary hearings on the night of the incident.
"The parents were cooperative in the hearings," Masterson said by phone. He said the decision marked the first time the Thanksgiving game or any other sporting event had been canceled because of an alcohol violation. He called the punishments "standard and appropriate" in a statement.
Maynard School Committee members and Maynard High head coach Kevin Capone could not be reached for comment.
Clinton Superintendent Terrance Ingano said in a telephone interview that he was "more angry than anything else" when he first received word of the cancellation.
"Not for me personally, but for our team and our students, especially our seniors," Ingano said, adding that Clinton High has played Maynard on Thanksgiving with few interruptions since the mid-1930s. He said the seniors are honored at midfield each year, and this year there were plans to honor members and the golf and cross country teams as well.
"Now we're trying to scramble to maybe come up with some kind of recognition ceremony for the kids on Thanksgiving morning," he said.
Ingano said that despite the community's disappointment, he believes Masterson made the right decision.
"There's not much you can do," he said. "The trouble becomes, now it's two schools that are affected."
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