Rancho Christian Football Program In Flux After Coach’s Firing

“We got ahead of ourselves in terms of football."

Officials at Rancho Christian High School say their football program is solid despite an immediate crisis that has some parents and students worried.

“We’ve cried over this,” said an emotional Ryan Wikert, athletic director for Rancho Christian.

Wikert’s remarks came late Tuesday afternoon as the school’s leaders and one CIF representative assembled in the campus’s Worship Center to answer parent and player questions about the firing of the head football coach and the future of the sport at Rancho Christian.

According to Rancho Christian President Scott Treadway, Jameison has been offered a paid leave of absence, but the campus leader said he doesn’t know whether the coach would accept.

Many of the approximately 100 people gathered Tuesday showed support for Jameison – who was not present -- and questioned his sudden release.

“He’s the fall guy,” many said.

Jameison “made” Rancho’s football program from the ground up just 14 months ago, but he was pushing too hard, too fast, Treadway said, noting that when faced with this season’s schedule ahead, the player infrastructure just wasn’t there.

“We got ahead of ourselves in terms of football,” he explained.

School officials were in sync with Jameison’s vision for the program, but there was disagreement on how to get there, Treadway claimed.

“We weren’t on the same trajectory,” he argued.

The issue blew up three weeks ago when school officials realized they didn’t have the player depth to tackle this season’s game schedule, Treadway said.

When the team met up against Whittier La Serna Aug. 24 for a preseason contest, some in the audience Tuesday said Rancho Christian should have forfeited due to an obvious mismatch. The coaching decision was made, however, to play with a handful of Rancho Christian varsity players and the rest from the school’s junior varsity squad.

The choice cost the team in injuries and a big 43-6 loss.

It also took a toll on the senior players’ football future: With an extensive injured-player list and a shallow pool of varsity talent, the school decided to abandon its varsity football program.

The verdict was rendered with the help of “misinformation” provided by the CIF, which incorrectly concluded that Rancho Christian senior players could transfer to another school because the varsity program was being forced to shut down. But when CIF officials looked closer, they realized the hardship rule only applied if the school abandoned its entire football program, including its middle school, junior varsity and varsity programs that comprise about 37 players in total.

Additionally, because the seniors saw game play last week, they are ineligible for the hardship: Under CIF rules, players are prohibited from representing more than one school during a given season.

The CIF official present Tuesday conceded the misinformation was indeed relayed. As a result, school officials are hopeful there will be an exception to allow the five Rancho Christian senior players who saw game play Aug. 24 to transfer to another school. Two of the players are from Moreno Valley, two are from Lake Elsinore and one is from Temecula, according to star varsity player Daruis Geater, 18.

Geater plays various positions on the field and is at a Division I level, Wikert said. Geater and his teammates are hopeful the CIF will allow them to transfer so they can get on with football and possible scholarships. Geater said he has already heard from several colleges.

“We want the mistake to be undone,” he added.

Treadway said his top priority is to ensure the players are allowed to transfer. If that doesn’t happen, he said the seniors can still play at Rancho Christian and the school’s coaches, coordinator and athletic director will cobble together a schedule week-by-week, similar to last season. (Rancho Christian is not eligible to be in a league until 2014, Treadway explained.)

“Our JV program is solid and there is tremendous potential. As for the seniors, we will do whatever it takes,” he said, promising the athletic staff is committed to helping players get notice from colleges. “Our top concern is these kids.”

Dawn August 29, 2012 at 01:29 PM
It is really unfortunate. I am sorry that these kids were recruited out of their school districts and now are pretty much in a jam. I hope that the right decision is made on their behalf. They shouldn't be penalized like that. As 8th graders they need stability to move forward. Good Luck
MyThoughts August 29, 2012 at 02:46 PM
The school is completely at fault here! They tried to build a football program too fast and are trying to push the blame onto the coach. So what that they lost a game 43-6! So what that players were hurt! This is football!!! You are going to lose games and players are going to get hurt. That's just the facts. To fire the coach and shut down the Varsity program is just another HUGE mistake and unfortunately the kids are paying the price. All they want to do is play football!
Kristin August 29, 2012 at 03:18 PM
What are the options for them to go to 8-man football. There's a strong possibility thy can succeed and schedule more games in 8-man, especially with the low player numbers
Halo August 29, 2012 at 10:29 PM
I couldn't agree with you more!! The school is making a huge mistake! First one was trying to build a football program too fast then their next mistake was to let go of the only potential they have at building that program! Kenric is a VERY talented & patient man!! These poor kids! :-(
Theresa August 29, 2012 at 10:55 PM
It isn't that they lost or players got hurt! The coach huge ambitions. GREAT! BUT you can't with just 13 players who are playing both ways and playing hurt because there aren't enough players to replace them. This is a move to protect the kids. I saw the game and it just didn't look right on the sidelines with the huge numbers on one side and single digit numbers on the otherside. The boys were tired and could have really gotten hurt. Thank GOD they didn't.
Ned August 31, 2012 at 02:20 AM
my son thinks this sucks. He is done for the year.
Mommy Bear September 01, 2012 at 06:49 AM
This is "par for the course" at Rancho. They dumped all of their money into their football program--touting the "big name" and fame of Coach Kenric but as soon as they are done with him, they publicly shame his name. Don't be fooled, the school and church "president", knew every last detail of the orchestrated over-ambitious football plan but the second he started to feel the heat, he throws his prized coach under the bus. Rancho's enrollment is down so as a result, they have cut our Spanish and Art programs and now their top-heavy football coaching staff--which make far more than the grossly underpaid teachers that pour everything they have into our children's lives. I wish I could leave the school but we are being forced to pay our annual tuition up front if we leave before the semester is over. This school has so many problems! :(
Mommy Bear September 01, 2012 at 06:54 AM
I am so sorry about your son. It IS heartbreaking for sure!


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