Nick O'Leary suspended 2 games
PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. -- The grandson of Jack Nicklaus -- one of the nation's top football recruits -- was suspended for two games by Florida officials for making an obscene gesture toward the stands after a game in Ohio.
Nick O'Leary, a tight end for Palm Beach Gardens Dwyer in Florida, could have faced as much as a six-week suspension for an "unsportsmanlike act," the Florida High School Athletic Association said Thursday.
O'Leary was disciplined after Dwyer played Cleveland Glenville High on Monday, a game Glenville won 26-22. Television replays showed Dwyer, the reigning Florida Class 4A champion, twice scored what should have been a go-ahead touchdown in the final moments. Replays of a third possible touchdown on a quarterback sneak were inconclusive.
Later Thursday, the Palm Beach Post reported that athletic director Tom Pagley said Dwyer would seek a one-game reduction to O'Leary's suspension. Dwyer also said the team would not forfeit its next two games.
"In my opinion, we'll be playing those games," Pagley said.
O'Leary is not allowed to play while the appeal is under consideration.
"We think [the suspension is] a bunch of crap," Dwyer coach Jack Daniels said, according to the Palm Beach Post. "There are no repercussions for the adults who made the calls on the field, but there is for an 18-year-old kid who reacted in the heat of the moment.
"You have a kid who has busted his butt since August. He played 140 snaps against Glenville, on both sides, punting and returning kicks. He was frustrated."
According to the Post's report, O'Leary was disciplined -- but not suspended -- by the team.
"We handled it internally. Nick knew he was wrong," Daniels told the newspaper.
Late in Monday's game, officials ruled a Dwyer receiver was out of bounds and not in the end zone on the first debated play, despite replays showing otherwise. The other two plays were runs near the goal line, including one on the final play of the game.
O'Leary gestured as his team was leaving the field. Television cameras captured the act and have replayed it.
O'Leary is the top-rated tight end in the ESPN 150 class of 2011 recruits and rated the 12th overall prospect. He had nine catches for 152 yards in the game with a touchdown. He's considering Miami, Florida State and Alabama, among other schools.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
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