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Friday, Oct. 18, 2019: Middletown may have to forfeit football wins

   Leading off today: Middletown is investigating the possibility it will have to forfeit four of the state-ranked football team's victories this season due to the possible use of an ineligible player.

   AD David Coates told The Times Herald-Record the school district is investigating a potential eligibility issue for a student, a reserve who transferred into the district this year. The player will not be on the sideline for Middletown's game at Valley Central on Friday, Coates said.

   Middletown (6-0) is ranked 17th in Class AA by the New York State Sportswriters Association.

   "Our kids and our coaching staff will hopefully persevere through it," Coates said. "We are being very transparent. We are going to do the right thing as we always do at Middletown."

   Milestone victory for program: Chazy's 3-0 boys soccer victory Wednesday against Plattsburgh Seton Catholic was the 900th in the program's 66-year history. Heath Lucas and Riley Hansen each finished with a goal and an assist in the win.

   "Winning 900 games as a soccer program speaks volumes about the dedication from the players, coaches, and community over the years," AD Brian Norcross said. "Chazy soccer is truly something special."

   Friday night fight: Syracuse hosts Pittsburgh in college football Friday, a big night for high school contests in the final week of the regular season for much of New York.

   To the west, Ohio State taking on Northwestern in another Friday night contest has rankled some people tired of the colleges continuing to infringe on what used to be exclusively a night for scholastic football.

   Schools across Ohio rescheduled games to Saturday or moved kickoff times up in order to not compete for the eyes of OSU fans who'd be watching the Buckeyes on the Big Ten Network.

   Perrysburg High AD Chuck Jaco pointed out that he relies upon revenue from five home football games each season to fund a large portion of the overall school budget for sports.

   "We've got some die-hard Buckeye fans, and they were on a bye week," he said. "No one is going to want to miss them two weeks in a row. I think it's going to have a considerable dent in our gate."


   Even some Big Ten coaches have spoken out against the conference's decision to play Friday games beginning in 2017.

   "I don't like it," Penn State coach James Franklin said. "Friday nights are for high school football, Saturday is for college, and Sunday is for the NFL. The Friday, Saturday, Sunday model has worked for a long time, and I'd like to keep it that way."

   NATA recommendations: The National Athletic Trainers' Association has released recommendations to reduce the risk of injuries related to sport specialization for young athletes.

   "Studies show that young athletes often see specialization football site

as a prerequisite to advancing -- making the varsity team, earning a college scholarship or progressing to the professional level," NATA President Tory Lindley said in a statement. "When athletes special- ize too early, or engage in excessive play, they are increasing the probability of injury and reducing the chances of achieving their goals. We want to help athletes and parents recognize health is a competitive advantage."

   The NATA recommend- ations are:

    • Delay year-round specializing in a single sport for as long as possible while pursuing general physical fitness.

    • Participate in one organized sport per season, whether that is training in one sport or competing in another.

    • Adolescent and young athletes should not play a single sport more than eight months per year.

    • Youths should not participate in organized sport and/or activity more hours per week than their age (i.e., a 12-year-old athlete should not participate in more than 12 hours per week of organized sport).

    • There should be a minimum of two days off per week from organized training and competition.

    • Young athletes should spend time away from organized sport and/or activity at the end of each competitive season to allow for physical and mental recovery.

   Signing off: Mile Zacchio has provided plenty of interesting and insightful reading in eight years of covering section 1 sports for The Journal News. His farewell column this week was some of his best work yet.

   Zacchio, who is leaving for a job outside the journalism business, said his thank yous threw in a huge tip of the hat to girls sports -- "My goal was to be a champion for female sports and to give a voice to female athletes and coaches who had previously felt like they were not being heard" -- and made parting requests to parents, players and readers.

   His words are certainly worthy of a few moments of your time.

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