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Countryside Quarterback Declared Ineligible

Christian Strong, who moved to the area from Canada just prior to the season, is declared ineligible by the FHSAA, putting the Cougars' playoff prospects in jeopardy.

Countryside Cougar quarterback Christian Strong is declared ineligible by the Florida High School Athletic Association, according to a report in the Tampa Bay Times.

The decision could force the team to vacate all six games Strong played in, including a pair of conference wins, which would put its playoff hopes in jeopardy.

"Our kids are resilient, and they want to play football very, very badly," head coach Jared Davis said following Friday night's win over Clearwater when asked about the situation.

"We just want to give them that opportunity and coach 'em up as best we can and be professional about it. Our mantra is to control what we can control."

According to the report, Strong, a senior, moved to Clearwater from Canada in the spring and was living with relatives.

The FHSAA did not confirm if it was a residency or paperwork issue that was being investigated, according to the Times, but a person affiliated with the program confirmed to Patch that it was a clerical/paperwork error that triggered the decision.

Countryside (7-1, 3-0) would have to forfeit the six wins which Strong played in, including district victories over Seminole and Northeast, which would make it difficult for the Cougars to qualify for the postseason for a fourth consecutive year.

"Obviously we hear things, but we just try to put it out of our minds and stay focused," senior wideout Joey Ganci said of the investigation on Friday night.

"I hope that we can make a deep run in the playoffs like we should."

What do you think about the FHSAA's decision? Speak your mind in the comments section!

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