This past weekend, Gilbert Perry HS (AZ) was heading into their match up with Cesar Chavez (AZ) at 3-1 and battling for their playoff life when head coach Preston Jones was faced with a big decision.
Louisville quarterback commit Chubba Purdy, who was leading the entire state in total offense through the first four games, and over 29 other teammates violated a team policy / rule, and coach Jones knew a teaching moment was presenting itself. As coaches, we know it's not always the knuckleheads that make poor decisions, even the best kids on our teams are susceptible to making subpar decisions as teenagers.
So Jones suspended more than 30 of his players heading into that Cesar Chavez game, according to the Arizona Republic.
Below is part of a statement that Jones sent to the Republic for comment on the decision.
"Good kids make mistakes, it is part of growing up. The Team did a great job showing resiliency against a good Cesar Chavez football team. I'm very proud of how the entire TEAM and program responded to adversity last week. Looking forward to a distraction-free week."
A lot of programs couldn't afford to lose 30 kids to suspension and still field a team, but Jones' decision allowed some kids who hadn't seen much playing time the opportunity to step up in the face of adversity. Unfortunately, they fell just short, losing to Cesar Chavez 35-27 that night, dropping them to 3-2 on the season.
Coach Jones deserves a lot of credit for making this decision, which was bound to be incredibly unpopular. Rules are rules, and they apply to every person on the team. The boys involved knowingly broke the team's rules. There are consequences of those actions. By making the hard choice that he did, Coach Jones taught these boys a lesson bigger than that game.
Head here to read the piece from the Arizona Republic.