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BOBBY ARDOIN

Editor/Consulting Writer

Opelousas High School has failed in requesting that the Louisiana High School Athletic Association overturn a previous ruling which forces the school football program to vacate the 2023 state football championship, according to sources familiar with the ruling.

The LHSAA ruling on the appeal by the St. Landry Parish School District officials was handed down late Thursday afternoon, sources told St. Landry Now.com.

Sources familiar with the appeal by the District told St. Landry Now.com that the School District was notified by the LHSAA decision related to the appeal by a text message sent to District legal advisor Courtney Joiner.

School District officials, their legal team and Opelousas High athletic director and head football coach Jimmy Zachery, Jr., testified before the LHSAA executive committee in Baton Rouge for over an hour on Wednesday in order to explain the reasons for launching their appeal.

LHSAA attorneys according to sources, told the District that they planned to rule on the appeal request within 48 hours of listening to arguments in connection with the appeal.

The LHSAA did not provide any comment on Thursday concerning their decision in regards to the appeal lodged by Opelousas High.

In a decision issued last month the LHSAA indicated to the District that they planned to vacate the football championship — the first in Opelousas High school history — due to at least one registration infraction. The LHSAA also provides an appeals process and a hearing for schools they determine as guilty of organization rules violations.

The LHSAA also said that the organization intends to impose some type of sanction on Zachery in addition to having the school forfeit the championship and the 12 victories during the 2023 season.

Zachery told The Advocate during a Wednesday interview that he was devastated by the prospect of having to relinquish the state title since the championship has meant so much to the Opelousas-area community.

Opelousas High played only two regular season home games and won all but one postseason game on the road before defeating Cecilia High 26-13 for the 2023 title. Photo courtesy of KATC.

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