Valdosta QB Garcia under investigation by GHSA

Shane Thomas | The Valdosta Daily TimesValdosta High quarterback Jake Garcia (6) throws downfield during the team's season opener against Warner Robins Sept. 4 at Bazemore-Hyder Stadium.

VALDOSTA –– Valdosta High senior quarterback Jake Garcia's eligibility has come under question by the Georgia High School Association.

The investigation comes on the heels of a report by ESPN's Mark Schlabach, where it was revealed that Garcia's parents, Randy and Yvonne, dissolved their marriage Aug. 20 to clear the way for their son's transfer to Valdosta.

Randy Garcia told ESPN that he and his wife plan to get back together once their son's season at Valdosta High ends.

Garcia, a transfer from La Habra (Calif.), played in the Wildcats' season opener and helped lead the team to a season-opening victory against Warner Robins. Garcia completed 22-of-34 passes for 332 yards with two touchdowns and one interception in his Wildcat debut.

The quarterback was ruled out of Valdosta's game Sept. 18 against Bainbridge with a hamstring injury.

Valdosta head coach Rush Propst declined to comment on the GHSA investigation Wednesday afternoon, but told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution the decision to sit Garcia was due to Garcia's hamstring injury and not his eligibility.

By rule, if the GHSA rules Garcia ineligible, Valdosta would be forced to forfeit any games Garcia participates in.

According to a report by the AJC's Todd Holcomb, Propst said Garcia will be a game-time decision for this Friday's game against Colquitt County in Moultrie.

Valdosta (2-0) is ranked No. 1 in Class 6A and faces Propst's former team Friday in South Georgia's oldest football rivalry.

For Propst, it will be the first time he’ll be on the Valdosta sideline for the game after 11 years as head coach of the Packers.

“You know, I’ll keep my emotions in check,” Propst said of returning to Colquitt. “It’s about the players. It’s about our players and them winning the ballgame. Emotionally, for me, I left in a tough situation. There’s no bones about it that I wasn’t happy about it. I felt like I was done wrong. There’s no question I was done wrong. So, will there be a little bit of incentive? Maybe. But still, it boils down to the players; not me. It’s not about me. 

“It’s about the players being ready to play against Colquitt County because it’s the oldest rivalry in the state of Georgia. I’ve coached in this game 11 times. This will be the 12th time, but I’ll be on the Valdosta side. I’m looking forward to it. It’s about Colquitt County and Valdosta, not about Rush Propst.”

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