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Sachem East to play football this season; coaching changes to be announced

Sachem East football players, friends and loved ones

Sachem East football players, friends and loved ones attend the wake of Joshua Mileto on Monday, Aug. 14, 2017. Credit: Newsday / Thomas A. Ferrara

The Sachem High School East football team has decided to play this season, but district officials are expected to announce changes to the coaching staff on Friday, according to a district representative.

Joshua Mileto, 16, died last week in a training drill. Sachem Central School District Superintendent Kenneth Graham said in a statement Wednesday that “an active police investigation” and “an internal district investigation” regarding the circumstances surrounding Mileto’s death were complicating their decision whether to play.

Mileto died Aug. 10 after a log that he and four other players were carrying during a drill fell and struck him on the head.

Mileto and the players were participating in a six-week summer football camp that took place on school grounds and was run by Sachem East football coaches and sponsored by the Sachem East Touchdown Club, the football team’s booster club. Suffolk police said Thursday that the investigation continues. Graham said in his statement on Wednesday that “at any given point any findings could potentially affect the team.”

Sachem East head coach Mark Wojciechowski has not spoken publicly since Mileto’s death. He did not return a message Thursday night seeking comment. The football team’s booster club also has removed the summer camp’s information page from its website.

Sachem players, coaches and parents met with administrators for the first time on Wednesday, a day after hundreds of people — including dozens dressed in Sachem football jerseys — attended the funeral for their fallen teammate.

The players reconvened on Thursday for the second straight day as district officials debated whether to carry on with the season.

High school football teams across New York State officially began practicing on Monday and state rules mandate that teams must complete 15 practices before their first game. Sachem East’s first game was originally scheduled for Sept. 1.

Tom Combs, executive director for Section XI, the governing body of Suffolk County athletics, did not return messages seeking comment Thursday.

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