Earlier this month, nine high school football players in Mineral Wells, Texas, temporarily quit their school’s team after the head coach installed his son as the starting quarterback.
According to Clint Foster of the Mineral Wells Index, the Mineral Wells High School players took action because “they believed the only way they could make their voices heard was to walk away from the program.”
The tension began when head coach Gerald Perry named his son, Tristan, as the team’s starting quarterback. Perry moved junior quarterback Trent Guinn, the other potential contender for the starting job, to backup slot receiver “without a chance to compete for the job,” the players told Foster.
Senior linebacker Max Grider, speaking on behalf of the group to Foster, delved deeper into the details of the protest:
We talked to Perry about it. We all voiced our opinions that we should have two quarterbacks at least in pads to have a chance to compete; don’t make a decision just yet. Don’t move [Guinn] to slot receiver where he can’t compete. We were in a bad situation where we couldn’t really do anything to fight it. For us to be heard, we felt like the only thing we had left to do is quit.
The problem, in the players’ eyes, was that Perry made the decision while the team was competing in seven-on-seven games against local schools. Grider described seven-on-seven as “not football” and said, “You really can’t decide anything based on that.”
The boys even took their concerns to a school board meeting in mid-June, according to David May of the Mineral Wells Index. A few of their teammates joined them in speaking out at the meeting, as did Guinn’s parents, Donna and Tony.
“We are here at this place not because of a one-time coach’s decision on a starting quarterback, but the actions leading up to the situation with the damage done along the way,” Donna Guinn said, according to May. “I think both kids we are talking about have been forgotten in this and both kids have suffered in this. They have both been put in a position where no one wins.”
The protest appears to have proven successful. According to Foster, the nine players have since rejoined the team after receiving assurance Perry would re-open the quarterback competition. In addition, the head coach decided to shift all responsibility, including the quarterback decision, to the team’s offensive coordinator, Chris Olson.
“It was announced to us that Trent would get a chance at QB,” junior running back Johnny Morales told the paper. “We are working on a healing process with the team. Right now, we are all just trying to get focused on the season and bring the family back together.”
A version of this news article first appeared in the Schooled in Sports blog.