By Jim Armstrong, WBZ-TV

BEVERLY (CBS) – A pair of high school graduates from Beverly will miss the championship lacrosse game of their senior year because they smoked cigars after their graduation ceremony.

John Donovan, whose son Nick is one of the students, is both disappointed and dismayed.

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“The punishment doesn’t seem to fit the crime,” he says.

The photo of four classmates puffing away was taken at their graduation ceremony last Sunday. It is published in this week’s edition of the “Beverly Citizen” newspaper.

“I guess somebody called the school and said, ‘Hey, student athletes are having a cigar as part of a celebration,’” Donovan says. “And then things evolved from there.”

Donovan says he and his son were summoned to the principal’s office Thursday, and told that Nick will have to miss the rest of his lacrosse season as a result of breaking the rule about tobacco use.

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Teammate Dylan Jutras faces the same punishment.

Both players are 18 years old.

“The spirit of the no-smoke rule, I guess, is the right one to have,” the elder Donovan says, “but I think it was applied in the wrong context.”

WBZ talked to several of the players’ teammates after practice Friday evening. Although they said they were disappointed, the players decided not to make any public comments about the matter, saying instead that they were focused on Saturday’s D-2 Championship game against Marblehead.

It is also unclear where the punishment itself originated. The Donovans believe it came from the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association. But an MIAA spokesperson told WBZ that organization did not suspend the players. Calls to Beverly High School’s principal and assistant principal were not returned.

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