Dr. Mark Watson has informed TWI Sports that eight of his varsity players will be suspended for the next two weeks. According to Wallenpaupack Area's head coach, they were found to be in violation of team rules and are being disciplined accordingly. Of the eight, just one is a full time starter.
Rumors that began swirling around The Big Lake late last weekend have now been substantiated: a significant number of Wallenpaupack Area players will be suspended from the 40-man varsity football team for the next two weeks.
"I'm devastated," an emotional Dr. Mark Watson told TWI Sports Tuesday afternoon in an exclusive interview. "I'm just heartbroken. These are good kids who made a terrible decision. It's a black eye for the program, but we'll do our best to overcome it."
According to Dr. Watson, eight varsity players will be out for each of the next two games. Paupack is slated to host Division One Scranton on Friday and old-time rival Western Wayne next weekend. That contest is also the Buckhorns' Homecoming Game.
Dr. Watson declined to offer any specifics about this "violation of team rules." However, he was quick to point out that it's a very serious situation that required quick and decisive action.
"I feel very strongly that we have to uphold the rules we set at the very beginning," Dr. Watson said. "We have to hold our student/athletes to a very high standard, especially during the season. These are lessons in life that we all have to learn at some point. I just hope these kids learn from this mistake and get back on the right track."
Paupack is in the midst of its most successful season in many years. The Bucks opened the '08 campaign with four straight wins before dropping a 42-20 decision to Abington on Friday. With a 4-1 record, Paupack is right in the thick of the hunt for a Division One title and a berth in the District Two Class AAAA play-offs.
Dr. Watson added that all of the players suspended, save one, are either back-ups or special teamers. Nevertheless, Paupack will have to overhaul its offensive scheme to compensate for the losses.
"Hopefully, we have some kids who will step up and show us what they can do," he said. "I know we'll get past it, but right now I'm just trying to focus on what's best for the team and for our program. It's tough, though...very tough."