After coaches resign, Fruit Cove Middle School football team is allowed to play in playoff game

The Fruit Cove Middle School football team lost its playoff game 38-32 Wednesday night, after a day of back and forth over whether their team would even exist. It all stems from a fight with the school’s soccer team.

Before the game Wednesday night, one of the coaches gave a pep talk like none other to the Fruit Cove football team.

It’s been a rough week fore the team because earlier in the week, the team was dissolved. The St. Johns Middle School Athletic Association said the decision stemmed from an incident involving the football team and the girl’s soccer team.

A series of emails claim that on Monday night, football players knocked over flags as they ran laps around the soccer game and that the head coach used profanity during a dispute over who could use the field.

“Unfortunately that came with having two of our coaches resign. They said we could only play if they would resign,” team mom Kelly Goodfriend said. 

Goodfriend said she feels the resignations were extreme, but is glad the boys got a chance to play.

“My team is made up of 24 eighth graders, this is their moment, so I’m excited to see that,” Goodfriend said.

Parent Robrina McCoy said the coaches made the right decision to resign, but things should have been handled differently, on both sides.

“Absolutely, absolutely, I think both sides could have done a whole lot better, and we’ll work on that from now on, to act as adults and not get involved in children-type things,” said McCoy.

Head coach Jonathan Calhoun sent out this letter:

"To the SJMSAA Board, Coaches, Parents, and Soccer Team and School Administration:

"On behalf of myself, the Fruit Cove Middle School Football coaching staff, and the Fruit Cove Middle School Football Team, I write this letter to apologize for any behavior that the Board, coaches, parents, students, or the Fruit Cove Middle School Administration or soccer teams found to be offensive, including the incident that occurred on Monday night in Plantation Park.  Hindsight being 20/20, I would have handled the situation differently, but I do not believe that the incident warrants the penalty imposed by the SJMSAA — dissolving the Fruit Cove Middle School Football team and depriving the players' from trying to win a championship.

"Throughout the season i have endeavored to push my players to succeed.   Football is an aggressive game and perhaps my aggressive approach to coaching rubs some people the wrong way.  One thing is clear, however, this situation is not about me, or the parents, or the other coaches, or the SJMSAA … it is all about the kids.

"Accordingly, without admitting any wrongdoing, and at the specific request of the SJMSAA Board, I and my Assistant Coach Rick Butler will agree to resign from our volunteer coaching positions with the Fruit Cove Middle School Football Team for the remainder of the 2017-18 season solely so that our kids can do what they have been practicing to do all year — play football."

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