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The 4-Star RB Maurice Washington III Will Miss The Entire 2016 Season, Appeal Denied By The CIF

Posted August 5, 2016 by in

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BREAKING: The appeal by Maurice Washington III to play this season for Oak Grove was denied by the CIF. Does the punishment fit? Watch and Read the feature by Ally Williams below. The 4-star national recruit will be able to practice with the team during the season.

Oak Grove Head Coach Jay Braun’s reaction: “Maurice will continue with the team in all phases and the family is weighing their options. I know this, we will have the best scout player in America.”

by: Ally Williams

National recruit Maurice Washington III has two years left to play high school football. The incoming junior has done so much work over the last half of his life; he was just eight years old when he lost his father – a football, basketball, and track star who spent time playing for the Raiders and was heading to the CFL before being diagnosed with cancer.

The elder Maurice would only get to see his son play his first year of football before succombing to the disease, passing away on the Fourth of July with his son by his side. Eight-year-old Washington simply thought he was asleep when he was taken away from his father’s bedside one final time, and he would later learned that he was gone. Even then, the denial would last for months, with the young boy still asking his mom when Dad would be coming home from the hospital.

Losing a parent can be one of the most traumatic things a person will go through – even more so at such a formative age. Washington originally blamed himself for his father’s passing and had to work through that weight on his young conscience, to coping with the anger of him being taken so early, to the continued healing he still goes through today.

The football connection lived on. Washington played quarterback as a child and while people would ask if he would be a receiver like his father, he excelled at running back and was recruited to play for The King’s Academy in Sunnyvale straight out of eighth grade. He went to play for the Knights but it meant leaving his friends from Davis Intermediate that had become his stability over the years. The decision would take its toll on Washington.

“Not everything is fit for every type of person,” he said. “I didn’t move homes but school is where you spend most of your time. I had to go to a place I wasn’t comfortable five days a week.”

Those long hours that began with commuting early in the morning to staying late after practice mixed with a culture shock that left Maurice isolated, uncomfortable, and mentally strained. He struggled in every way – academically, socially – every way, except for football, but even that relief was short-lived. The young man who had always been sociable and outgoing was now withdrawn.

“I’m not one to be alone but I was always alone there. I maybe had one or two friends,” he said. “Football was my escape, that’s when I had all my friends and the fans were there. Then when I walked off the field, they were just gone. It was just…me again.”

The mental anguish took its toll on Washington, and he decided to transfer to Oak Grove: what would have been his home school with the stability he once knew. Now just five minutes from class, Maurice was back with his peers and away from the isolation that plagued him over his first three semesters of high school.

“There are some times when you got to let go, I just couldn’t take it anymore,” said Washington. “The [Oak Grove] environment fits perfectly for me. I love it here.”

Washington transferred to Oak Grove in February and finished his sophomore year closer to home. While some stressors had been relieved, new ones arose; CCS rules have made it difficult for Washington to be eligible to play football this upcoming season at his new school. The issue puts an important junior year at risk, and the success of both Washington and the Oak Grove Eagles have brought extra attention to this particular situation.

WATCH: OGHS Head Coach Jay Braun unedited interview (Part 1) (Part 2) (Part 3)

Washington was a huge part of The King’s Academy’s success last season, rushing for 1,827 yards and averaging just over 166 per game as a sophomore. The four-star running back (via Scout.com) recorded 29 touchdowns, six of which came in an explosive 402-yard outing against Jefferson last November. The standout running back has already received interest from Stanford, Oregon, and Notre Dame, while the coaches from both Ohio State and Missouri have already personally called Washington with full ride scholarship offers.

Washington is exploring potential career paths ranging from criminal justice to small business marketing to sportscasting, but for now, his main goal is to join an Eagles team that will enter the upcoming season as strong reigning champions after their win over St. Francis in the Open Division Final. He hopes to be playing in an Oak Grove jersey when the Eagles travel to St. Francis for the season opener, but for now, it’s the waiting game.

An appeal to CIF that would allow Washington to play his junior season with the Eagles is still up in the air. The 6’0, 175lb student athlete has his coach, his mom, and his longtime therapist in his corner as they hope to avoid the loss of an entire season. While there are offers and interest in Washington, nothing is official yet, and athletes know as well as anyone that anything can happen in a year. Washington wants to make sure he is out on that field with his teammates and playing the sport he and his father both love, at the school he feels he was meant to be with all along.

An official decision will be announced in the coming days, and we will update this story as more information unfolds.


About the Author

Alforde Joaquin

ALF’s passion for shooting and editing has earned him several awards including an Edward R. Murrow Award in 2006 for Videography. He was also a nominee for the National Edward R. Murrow Award for Videography. A 6-time Emmy recipient for five different categories: Director/Producer, Videography, Editing, Feature Segment and Sound Mixing, Alf has produced over 1,000 video segments and is committed to developing GetSportsFocus as one of the best sports video magazine on the web.