State Title Revoked

Season Ends in Forfeit of All Games and Probation

Number one! The football team pose and smile for a picture to celebrate their win against the Westside Warriors after the game at Memorial stadium. It was reported that Gretna fans beat the record for the most fans at a state championship game.

On Nov. 23, 2021 the varsity football team defeated Omaha Westside in the class A state championship game with a final score of 7-3. The celebration was short lived because on Jan. 20, 2022 the NSAA ruled that the title would be revoked and the trophy returned because of an ineligible player on the Gretna team.
“Personally I feel that the penalty was too severe for what occurred,” GHS principal Todd Mueller said. “Like anything else they could have done a range of penalties, but to in essence give us the death penalty and a year of probation I think is extremely severe because what happened was far from intentional.”
Probation essentially means that if something like this were to happen again in the next year Gretna would be banned from all NSAA activities for postseason play. Along with a year of probation, GHS was forced to forfeit all of the 2021-2022 football games.
The player was deemed as ineligible due to confusion over a residency issue after the student transferred from Papillion South. A press release from GPS that was sent out on Jan. 21 explained the consequences as handed down by the NSAA; as well as, the district’s disappointment in the NSAA’s failure to keep the players name and information private as previously requested.
“My disappointment turned to anger when I watched my teammate’s name roll across the bottom of the TV on the nightly news as if he had killed someone,” senior Jake Lukis said.
Shortly after the championship game, it was announced that GHS had one of the biggest fan turnouts at a state game. The ruling was a dissapointment for the team and the entire city of Gretna, but many agree that the trip to Memorial stadium brought the town closer together.
“Almost everybody in Gretna went to the game, we saw that and it really brought the people together,” Mr Mueller said. “I really thought that winning the title brought everybody together, but I got a sense that once they took it away they became even more tight because I think they felt bad for these kids to have something taken away from them in what I feel was an unjust way.”
The shock of the initial ruling prompted a petition to be started. The petition was originally created to try to get the title and the trophy back in the Dragons hands. By the end of January the petition had gained 2,625 signatures, but at the time of publication, it is not known if the petition was sent to the NSAA.
“Nothing has changed since finding out about the ruling. If anything has changed, everyone has worked harder and harder every day,” Lukis said. “The next group of boys is fueled and hungry to go win it again.”
The GPS press release explained during the NSAA’s review of the allegations the district’s staff provided the NSAA with all requested information. They plan to look over anything to ensure that anything like this does not happen again.
“We are, as a district are trying to take further action to make sure we are following every step and following every rule,” GHS activities director Mr Matthew Curtis said. “We thought we were doing that beforehand, and we really were but from time to time things pop up that you don’t anticipate.”
On Feb. 17, the Dragons faced the Warriors on the basketball court. Although there were rumors about how each schools’ student section would act toward the opposing team, both groups showed sportsmanship and focused on the basketball teams. The night ended with a varsity win for the Westside girls team and GHS boys team.