Suspended players return to FWCD football

The homecoming game against St. Andrew’s Friday is not only welcoming Fort Worth Country Day alumni back to Rosacker Field but also the return of suspended players.

Students were suspended across several athletic teams, which included 17 football players two weeks ago. Players will be eligible to play against St. Andrew’s Friday.

According to the FWCD Athletic Handbook, student athletes are expected to refrain from the use of alcohol, illegal drugs, tobacco and nicotine products at all times. If the policy is violated, the first offense suspends a student athlete for two weeks from competition, which the football players received.

Following the football game against Houston Christian on Oct. 5, head coach Frank Gendusa said the players were suspended for “team reasons.”

The suspended players were required by policy to attend all practices and contests but they were unable to suit up for competition. None of the suspended players were available for comment but some seniors were able to speak on the matter.

“We knew the people who weren’t going to play were going to be standing on the sidelines,” senior tight end Jacob Edwards said. “It’s disheartening just knowing that everybody wasn’t going to be there but it was good seeing them out on the practice field with the team.”

Gendusa said it was an eye-opener for the suspended players to go from starting to second team during practices. Despite the circumstances, he said they have been working hard for the past two weeks.

Although two of the three captains were suspended, Gendusa said they kept the team positive the past two weeks. Seniors Morgan Pergande, Robert Molloy and Will Arnold stayed focused at practice and encouraged their teammates during games.

Gendusa said running back A.J. Ximenes was a senior who adopted a leadership role. He said Ximenes leads in a quiet way by example.

Ximenes said the suspension affected the team but in the end it brought everyone together. With only one captain eligible to play, the other seniors stepped up to take care of the team as the captains had taken care of them earlier this season, he said.

The matchup against St. Andrew’s will be the last home game of the season. Both teams are tied for the last spot in the south division of the Southern Preparatory Conference with a 2-5 record.

“If we could end with two wins, that would be great,” Ximenes said. “Losing half of our team, especially our starters, really hurts but ending on two wins would put that behind us.”