One of the top wide receiver recruits in the nation will be forced to miss his school's entire state playoff run after being assessed a harsh, six-week penalty for an in-game conduct violation he claims he didn't even commit: cursing at an official.
As first reported by the Orlando Sentinel, Winter Park (Fla.) High wide out D'Vario Montgomery was ejected from his team's victory against Timber Creek for a conduct violation. After Florida High School Athletic Association officials went back over the referees' game notes, they decided to increase Montgomery's suspension from the standard, one-game ban to a six-week suspension from all athletic activities.
Whether or not such a ban is fair practice would be a matter for debate in any circumstances, but Montgomery -- who holds scholarship offers from no fewer than 30 top Division I programs, including nearly the entire SEC -- is now alleging that he never swore at the referees in the game at all, making the six-week ban all the more mysterious. The FHSAA does not reveal the reason for any suspension, but Montgomery made it clear that the ban was connected to the curse he reportedly made at the referees.
"They said I cursed at the official but I didn't do that," Montgomery told the Sentinel.
The loss of Montgomery is a huge setback for Winter Park, which will play one final regular-season contest -- against Ocoee (Fla.) High on Friday -- before kicking off the state playoffs. The team has already clinched the runner-up position in Florida's Class 8A District 3, guaranteeing it a playoff spot.
Now it will make that run without its leading receiver (500 yards and five touchdowns), kick returner and one of its key defensive stalwarts (67 tackles and four interceptions). Whether the setback and premature ending to a standout high school career affects Montgomery's future options remains to be seen.
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