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Coach forces bus into bizarre cemetery stop after loss

Cameron Smith
Prep Rally

A scandal is brewing in upstate New York, where a junior varsity football team made a stop at a cemetery after a dispiriting loss. What they may or may not have done at the cemetery now has parents and administrators up in arms, even if they can't definitively confirm what actually took place.

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Marcellus junior varsity football coach Jim Marsh

Marcellus junior varsity football coach Jim Marsh

According to the Syracuse Post-Standard, the Marcellus (N.Y.) High junior varsity football team stopped at a cemetery after a loss to Skaneateles on Saturday. While no one is questioning the fact that the team bus did stop at a cemetery, one complaint reportedly made to Marcellus administrators claimed that the team members were forced to lie on graves in an attempted teaching method by junior varsity coach Jim Marsh, who is pictured in the center of the photo above, about how they should never give up.

"The bus did stop at the cemetery," Marcellus Superintendent Craig Tice told the Post-Standard. "We're talking to the kids, the coaches and the parents. We're still trying to collect information, definitely."

The Marcellus school district was to have Tice call Prep Rally to discuss the the incident, but that call was not made as of this publication.

Until all that information is collected, it may be impossible to accurately ascertain precisely what happened. In the meantime, parents of the players -- and some of the players themselves -- are up in arms about what they feel was an inappropriate educational technique.

While the district is not yet confirming that the students physically laid on graves, two sources spoke to the Post-Standard and offered this depiction of what happened after Saturday's game:

The sources said Marsh, also an English teacher at the high school, ordered the team bus to pull over near the cemetery. He then asked the roughly two dozen players to get out and lay on the graves.

The players rested there for several minutes while Marsh preached about the importance of playing hard, and how those buried underneath them would cherish the opportunity to trade places with the players and fight to win.

Marsh then urged the Mustangs to arise from the dead and bring their season back to life.

Even for a dedicated English teacher, it seems safe to say that Marsh -- who also serves as Marcellus' boys basketball coach -- took the resurrection of a season theme a bit too literally for his own good simply by staging a pep talk at a cemetery.

While it may be some time before full details of the entire incident are made public, one thing seems certain: The fact that Marsh even had a school bus stop at a cemetery after a loss is a pretty sure sign that whatever he did force his players to do was probably a step too far.

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