Arawaks' season ends unexpectedly


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ST. THOMAS - Luke Neely prefers to end the tackle football seasons with a speech following the Arawaks' final scheduled game.

Instead, the St. Thomas-St. John Private Schools coach told his players at Friday's practice that their final game, scheduled for the following night, was canceled.

Outstanding payments from previous St. Croix athletic trips prevented the Educational Complex team from having a place to stay following its game against the Arawaks.

The V.I. government's financial management system was down on Thursday, preventing verification of any checks sent to a St. Thomas hotel, according to St. Croix superintendent Gary Molloy. Molloy said there was "no way" to come up with an advanced payment for the hotel, so he canceled the trip before the airline's refund deadline.

"Seems like something like this happens every year and no one's held accountable for it," Neely said. "I found out right before we were going to practice on Friday. Imagine having to tell your football players that have been practicing for the last week or two that your season's over."

Molloy said a purchase order for prior volleyball and football team trips was processed on Nov. 7, but the hotel had no record of payment on Thursday.

"At the time, the hotel was going to make a decision that Friday morning, but we had to notify the seaplane by Thursday evening at 7:30," Molloy said.

Molloy declined to say which hotel the Barracudas planned to stay at. As of Monday evening, he had not determined why the hotel had not been paid.

"It's just disappointing for these kids, who every year put their hearts and souls into these games and practices," Neely said.

The Arawaks (4-2) finished with the second best record in the territory. Complex (2-2) won the IAA St. Croix District and will host St. Thomas-St. John district champion Charlotte Amalie High School (6-1) in the territory championship at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.

The Chickenhawks forfeited a game at Central High in 2011 because of payment issues.

- Contact Tim Chapman at 714-9102 or tchapman@dailynews.vi.

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