Football: Marshall backs out of McClymonds game hours before kickoff

By Jeremy Balan

Any Marshall High School fans that went to see the Phoenix play McClymonds in Oakland on Friday night were probably left disappointed.

Sure, there was a game on McClymonds’ field, but the opposing team on the visiting sideline wasn’t Marshall.

During a phone interview on Thursday, Marshall athletic director Greg Espy mentioned nothing of a potential cancellation, and as of noon on Friday the game was still on, but just two hours later the San Francisco Section office got a call from the team to cancel it’s bus trip to Oakland.

McClymonds, which got a hint from Marshall that it may have to cancel on Thursday, tentatively scheduled Richmond, which needed to make up a game after Burton, one of its scheduled opponents, cancelled it’s non-league season. The foresight payed off, and the teams got a game in, with McClymonds cruising to a 56-0 win.

According to Marshall head coach Kamon Pierce, the Phoenix were below the required number of 18 players, and additions to the roster were held up by issues with paperwork.

“We had some paperwork issues. We had some kids that needed documents signed that didn’t get signed,” Pearce said. “It went all bad. It was a rough day.”

But according to San Francisco Section commissioner Don Collins, Marshall moved enough players up from the freshman/sophomore team to play on Friday night.

“They decided they’d rather not play. The school did right by its opponent by making sure it could make adjustments, but did not realize the other obligations that an athletic program needs to take care of,” Collins said. “Administratively, it could have been handled better.”

After playing with 16 and 17 players on an exception from Collins and the San Francisco Section in its first three games, Collins mandated that Marshall add enough to its roster to meet the minimum requirement of 18. Collins also said that the Phoenix used an ineligible player in a 42-6 loss to Ukiah, and would have had to forfeit the game if they had won.

Pierce said Marshall’s roster size will increase in the next week and that the Phoenix will be ready for their Academic Athletic Association opener against Mission on Oct. 1, but Collins hopes Marshall and other AAA programs will learn from these mistakes.

“It’s a lesson to any program at any school,” Collins said. “Even if a program isn’t used to having a lot of fans, you have to act like there will be and inform those who are supporting your team.”

Espy did not answer or return repeated phone calls requesting comment on Friday night.

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  1. Observer says:

    Typical AAA junk. If theres no accountability from the coaches and administration how can the students be expected to follow suit?

  2. Grilled says:

    Jbalan you’re wrong about one thing. Thurgood doesn’t have any fans. Ha!

    • Parent&Supporter says:

      Thurgood does have fans and I mean parents that supports their children, I believe that any football team has fans it don’t matter if the number is more or less 2 or 3 supporters/fans, we’re still there to support our boys’ and Thurgood is the only school that most and I mean alot have something against…’s just a GAME!

  3. AAA Legend says:

    Stuff like this is completely unacceptable. It no excuse for this they knew all along they didn’t want to go out there and play and get beat by 70 points. Honestly that football program needs to be shutdown they have never been a legitimate football program and it has been playing for over 10 years.

    • Parent&Supporter says:

      70 points…oh you wish…and what’s up with the legitimate football program being shut down? Just do yourself a favor worry about whatever football team your supporting don’t worry about Thurgood’s Football Program I believe that none of y’all know the reason why they cancelled the game just the coaches oh and by the way reread the article again….

  4. Don L. says:

    Marshall’s a Division IV school by enrollment and it’s not surprising if they are having trouble fielding a team. I’m surprised they are trying to run a frosh soph team though. I guess if they have freshman that want to play, they can’t play varsity so the F/S team is only option.

    I’ll give credit to Marshall for trying though. When school’s like Lincoln, Wash and Galileo (with larger populations) have trouble getting significant numbers for football, it’s nice Marshall is trying to keep AAA football going. How they handled this situation with Mack wasn’t good though. Unfortunately, AAA schools have done that a lot over the past few years. In the future, I wouldn’t be surprised if some schools were reluctant to schedule AAA schools for pre-season. After all, all these last minute cancellations are not good for the opponent as well.

  5. Nate says:

    Observer: If you want to talk about accountability, how about posting under your own name? I notice the others taking shots at Marshall are also doing so anonymously.

    Marshall is a school with a lot of issues, but I applaud the teachers, coaches, and administrators who are attempting to make it a successful school with a competitive sports program. They have a hard job, and we can’t know the challenge they face.

    Our Galileo soccer team just played the winless Marshall soccer team, and despite Marshall having endured a tough season and playing with only one sub that day, the Marshall players played hard the entire game and never quit.

    I hope the kids on the Marshall football team are able to keep that same spirit in the face of the adversity they are currently experiencing.

    Galileo Boys Soccer Coach

    • Observer says:

      Cry me a river about the “issues” Marshall has. A lot of other AAA schools have the same issues but have the leadership to succeed or at least take the steps needed to run a competent athletic department. You cant expect the kids to do it themselves. They need strong leadership and coaches which Marshall doesn’t have.

  6. WCAL ALum says:

    Why doesnt Marshall opt out of AAA football and play 8-man football on an independent schedule. SHC left WCAL football for a number of years as football had a difficult time with numbers. Move back to AAA when they can get some players on a consistant basis. Just a thought.

    • ARHS Stats says:

      Marshall is in the San Francisco Section.

      The San Francisco Section does not have any 8-man football leagues or independent teams.

      Marshall would have to spend more money to join either the North Coast or Central Coast Sections for Football to play 8-man football.

      • Don L. says:

        ARHS Stats,

        Marshall did do an semi-independent season back in 2007. That year, they did not field an official varsity or frosh-soph squad. However, a Marshall team did play other AAA F/S teams. I don’t remember the exact details but i believe it was basically a JV team (with juniors / maybe seniors plus underclassmen) playing together.

        It’s documented at the San Francisco Section website. Whether or not an AAA team could go completely independent is another story. I know the commish and could ask! :)

        • ARHS Stats says:


          In 2007 Marshall played three Frosh-Soph games.
          In 2008 Marshall played all JV or Frosh-Soph Games.
          2009 is the first season Marshall played a Varsity Schedule.

          Most schools when they start playing football start playing JV teams for the first year or so. And usually they don’t have a league schedule during those years.

          I know the commissioner and the assistant commissioner as well.

          Ask Don, if they could play an independent varsity schedule for a few years. Of course, they would have trouble scheduling games outside the AAA, so Marshall may not want to do it.

          S.H.C. went independent in football for about 10 years, or close to that number.

  7. GCJ says:

    This is just a thought, and probably one that will get frowned upon. Maybe Burton and Marshall should combine thier football programs. I do not know if the AAA bylaws will allow this. Not to mention those are rival schools, but both seem to have low numbers, roster wise, when it comes to football. I’m a Burton grad and would not like to share anything with a rival school, however, we need to do what’s best for the student-athletes. If players want to play, they should be allowed to play. Sometimes we have to think “outside of the box” to make things happen.

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