As soon as Methuen High knocked off Cambridge last Saturday, Eric Cyr’s cell phone started buzzing.
“(Chelmsford coach) Mike O’Keefe wants to move our game to Tuesday night,” Cyr said of the upcoming Division 1 North semifinal with O’Keefe’s Lions. “We’ve both got graduations coming. We’d like to get it out of the way.”
Cyr was taking a gamble. With fewer days rest, his sophomore ace Jacob Wallace might not have been as sharp as necessary.
“Mike’s a friend,” explained Cyr. “If we were in the same spot (Chelmsford’s prom was Wednesday night), I’d expect he’d do the same for me.”
Both coaches and school administrators went to the MIAA. Fields were available, but the MIAA would not budge. And when the game was rained out on Thursday night, it was a decision that has now blown up in MIAA’s faces.
Methuen High graduates tonight. Chelmsford High graduates Saturday night.
The MIAA has decided to jam the game into Saturday morning at 10 a.m. at LeLacheur Park, creating a conflict for juniors and potentially others scheduled to take the SATs.
This conflict will affect the game on the field Saturday, according to Cyr.
“We’ve tried every possible channel and the MIAA will not budge,” said Cyr. “They’re set on playing the game at 10, right in the heart of the SATs. For us, it’s important, but we’re only losing three players. The Chelmsford people tell me that it could be up to 11 for them.”
The playoff roster is only 20 players a team.
“They tell me that they will have nine guys there,” said Cyr.
Out of respect for his opponent, the Merrimack Valley Conference and their players, the coaches had talked seriously about a boycott of the game.
Cyr said that the schools’ administrators let their dissatisfaction with that idea be known, and both teams will hopefully show up for the game.
“You have to think of all the kids. Think of the seniors, who you just don’t want to see lose an opportunity like this,” said Cyr. “And then the juniors, who might be missing what could be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”