AMITE, LA (WAFB) - St. James High's football team will advance to the Class 3A state championship at the Superdome after a judge's ruling Friday morning in state district court.
Judge William Morvant, who has some experience in similar cases, ruled that the court does not have the jurisdiction or power to rule in the case involving Amite High School, the Tangipahoa School Board and the Louisiana High School Athletic Association (LHSAA).
"I'm afraid this is the end of the season for Amite High School," said Chris Moody, an attorney representing the Tangipahoa School Board. "It's a sad thing because I think those young man had a great chance to become state champions."
The LHSAA suspended the entire Amite and Bogalusa football teams after a "bench-clearing" fight.
Friday's ruling doesn't interfere with that decision and keeps Amite out of their semifinal match-up against St. James in the Class 3A playoffs.
"We hope that it teaches that this can't happen, that parents can't come out of stands, kids can't run onto the field," said Mark Boyer, an attorney representing the LHSAA. "Let the officials do their job, let the coaches do their job and ultimately keep these kids safe."
Last Friday, a fight broke out at the quarterfinal game between Amite and Bogalusa. Cell phone video captured the moment the brawl got out of hand with players from both teams getting involved and leaving the bench. Because of their involvement, the LHSAA suspended Amite from the next game, which happens to be the semifinal match-up.
School officials appealed the LHSAA's suspension, but the organization upheld their decision citing LHSAA official rules, which state that if a player or multiple players leave the bench and enter the court or field, the player(s) shall be suspended and ruled ineligible to participate at any level through the next contest at that level.