WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KTJL) — A controversial high school football game played between the Graham Steers and the Hirschi Huskies has now been declared a double-forfeit.

On Wednesday, the District 3-4A District Executive Committee, made up of the superintendents of the school districts represented in the district, decided to award Hirschi the victory in a controversial suspended game against the Graham Steers.

According to Matt Stepp, Texas High School Football insider, the District 3-4A District Executive Committee decided on Thursday, October 13, 2022, that Hirschi High School must forfeit the game played against Graham High School on Friday, October 7, 2022, due to Hirschi fielding a player ruled to be ineligible.

In a statement posted to the WFISD Facebook page, Athletic Director Scot Hafley said he was “personally frustrated with this decision,” but he explained that the school district failed to make sure the Hirschi student remained in the Hirschi attendance zone for at least one year.

On the evening of October 7, the UIL and each member school of district 3-4A received an email claiming players on the Hirschi High School football team do not live in the correct attendance zone. On Tuesday, October 11, I made a home visit to locate the family in question. On that day, the family provided documentation of a lease agreement for an address in the Hirschi attendance zone that was used to register for school. However, the family relocated to a new home in the Rider attendance zone after school started without our knowledge. The player in question completed the UIL’s Previous Athletic Participation Form (PAPF), and it was approved by District 3-4A and the UIL.

The player in question previously played football for Graham ISD. In August, Hirschi Athletic Coordinator and Head Football Coach Lawrence Johnson contacted Graham ISD regarding this player. Coach Johnson was informed by a Graham ISD representative that the district would sign the PAPF and they had not experienced any issues with the student or family. Since that time, we have learned that information was not true.

On Wednesday, October 12, the District 3-4A Executive Committee met to determine the outcome of the Wichita Falls Hirschi vs Graham football game played on October 7. The committee voted 3-0 to award the win to Hirschi High School. Following the hearing, I was asked to provide an update regarding the eligibility of players on the Hirschi varsity football team.

According to UIL rules, a player is considered ineligible if he does not remain in the attendance zone of his school for one calendar year. On Thursday, October 13 I requested the District 3-4A Executive Committee grant Hirschi the opportunity to apply for a UIL retroactive residence waiver due to the circumstances surrounding the allegations.

The committee approved this, and the application process will begin. However, the 3-4A Executive Committee also voted to rescind yesterday’s decision regarding the outcome of the game. Sweetwater ISD, Snyder ISD, and Midland Greenwood voted to rule the October 7 contest between Hirschi and Graham a double forfeiture.

While I am personally frustrated with this decision, I recognize that it is the responsibility of the receiving school to verify the residency of all athletes. Coach Johnson and I failed to ensure this athlete remained in the Hirschi attendance zone for one calendar year.

I am disappointed by the circumstances surrounding this case and the manner in which it was reported to us, but we will enforce the UIL rules and decision of the 3-4A Executive Committee.

Scot Hafley, WFISD Athletic Director

The game will now be considered a double-forfeit, meaning it will go on record for both teams as a loss, and as a District 3-4A loss.

The Superintendents of Midland Greenwood, Snyder, and Sweetwater, the other three schools in District 3-4A, decided after a discussion Wednesday afternoon to name Hirschi High School the winner of Friday night’s game.

Dr. Donny Lee, Superintendent of the Wichita Falls Independent School District, and Sonny Cruse, Superintendent of the Graham Independent School District, abstained from contributing to the decision.

However, following that decision, KFDX learned of allegations presented to the DEC that a Hirschi player was ineligible, and an investigation into those allegations began.

Friday, October 7, 2022, with less than a minute remaining in the third quarter of the varsity football matchup between the Hirschi Huskies and the Graham Steers, the game was suspended following a brawl between players of the two teams.

Friday’s game served as the first District 3-4A, DII game for both Hirschi and Graham. As is standard in UIL districts, a school’s record against its district opponents determines its post-season fate.

Eleven players will serve suspensions of at least two-quarters of his team’s next game as a result of their participation in Friday’s fight. According to the UIL, players who were ejected or deemed to have played a role in the altercation on the field must be suspended a minimum of one-half of the team’s next contest.