Banning players threaten to boycott game against Carson because of ineligible player

Banning wide receiver Richard Cox rushes against Birmingham.
From 2019’s City championship game, Banning wide receiver Richard Cox carries the ball against Birmingham.
(Jason Armond / Los Angeles Times)

A group of Wilmington Banning football players is threatening to boycott Friday night’s Marine League game against Carson in solidarity with a teammate suspended for one game for illegally playing Thursday, one day before he would have been eligible under the City Section sit-out period rule, Banning coach Raymond Grajeda said.

Grajeda said he was unaware that the sit-out date to resume playing for students who did not change residences when transferring was Friday, Sept. 23. He used the player on Thursday, Sept. 22, and now Banning must forfeit its win over Garden Grove Pacifica and the player will have to sit out an additional game Friday.

Several of the player’s friends don’t want to play Carson if the player can’t play, Grajeda said. “If he’s out, we’re out,” Grajeda said.

T.A. Cunningham, one of the top defensive prospects in the country, has been cleared by the CIF to play for Los Alamitos High.


The sit-out date when players became eligible is based on half a season. Grajeda said he believed sitting out the Pilots’ first five games made the player eligible for Thursday’s sixth game. He believes the spirit of the rule, which is to have players miss about half the regular season, is not being enforced. The sit-out date was mentioned at the annual coaches’ meeting and is listed on the City Section calendar.

If the group of players decides not to play and the City Section doesn’t change its decision, Banning could have a hard time reaching 20 players for the game. And the Pilots could face sanctions from the City Section if they have to forfeit.

Vicky Lagos, the City Section commissioner, has been on bereavement leave after the death of her mother. Spokesman Dick Dornan said the section has no comment other than the player has received a one-game suspension for playing Thursday and Banning will forfeit its victory.

Big-boy football gets under way with league play in the Trinity, Mission, Sunset and new Big West Conference.