By BOB PUTNAM, Times Staff Writer
Riley Cooper returns, but another player is suspended three weeks.
Clearwater Central Catholic's Riley Cooper had his suspension reduced from three games to two by the Florida High School Athletic Association after an appeal and will play in Friday night's game against Auburndale.
Cooper, a receiver/defensive back who was named the sixth-best athlete in the nation by rivals.com, was suspended after being ejected from a game against Jesuit. He directed profanity at an official.
The FHSAA made the initial ruling based on the severity of the infractions after reviewing the officials' report. An ejected player can be suspended from one to six weeks. When a player is ejected, officials fax or e-mail a report to the FHSAA office. The association makes a decision and notifies the school, which has the right to appeal.
If an appeal is filed, the FHSAA contacts the official for an explanation and reviews any videotape provided by the school.
"We felt like we had a case with Riley and went through the proper channels," Marauders coach Mike Jalazo said.
Colin McCarthy also was ejected from the Jesuit game for being disrespectful to an official. He completed his one-game suspension.
Last week, Corey Pagan was ejected for throwing a punch at a Orlando Lake Highland Prep player. He is serving a three-week suspension. Jalazo said he will not appeal.
"There's nothing to appeal because the kid admitted he did it," Jalazo said. "I've preached to my guys to keep their composure and walk away from things. I'm baffled (by the suspensions) because we don't coach that way."