High School Football

Heralded high school quarterback benched over UIL transfer rules

Weatherford High School quarterback Ken Seals was having the summer of his young life until Thursday, when the District 3-6A executive committee voted that Seals would be ineligible his sophomore year because he transferred from Azle for athletic purposes.

Representatives from the other six district schools (Abilene, Keller, Haltom, Keller Timber Creek, Keller Fossil Ridge and Keller Central) voted 6-0 the day before Seals was scheduled to attend a recruiting camp at TCU.

Robert Seals, Ken’s father, says the transfer was for academic purposes, but Azle coach Devon Dorris checked a box on a UIL transfer form stating that he believed the move was for athletic reasons.

Dorris and recently retired Azle athletic director Scott Anderson presented documents to support their case during Thursday’s public meeting, but Dorris declined to specify Friday what they said.

District 3-6A executive chairman Bob DeJonge, the Keller school district athletic director, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The Seals family has not moved to the Weatherford district, but Seals’ mother took a teaching job there in April. UIL rules allow nonresidents to seek waivers to participate in athletics if one of their parents works at the school.

Seals burst on the national football scene by repeating as national champion at the National Football Academies Invitational Quarterback Competition in Canton, Ohio, as a seventh- and eighth-grader.

Robert Seals said he wanted all three of his children to be able to take advantage of a dual-credit program at Weatherford that he felt was superior to the one offered at Azle.

After all, he said: “You don’t leave one 2-8 team to go to another 2-8 team because of athletics, when we had Aledo, Brock, [Fort Worth] All Saints that we could have gone to, all state championship teams and all closer to us than Weatherford, if it was for athletic purposes.”

Both Azle and Weatherford went 2-8 in 2016, and each has gone 7-13 the last two years. First-year coach Billy Mathis, who was the defensive coordinator at Aledo, takes over the Weatherford program this year after Weldon Nelms’ retirement.

Robert Seals said the family would appeal the decision to the state executive committee, which meets next in August.

Matthew Martinez: 817-390-7667, @MCTinez817

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