A high school football playoff game ended in overtime, but a play in the third quarter is getting attention for having affected its outcome.
Central Catholic beat Everett High School by a score of 39-37 on Saturday, but according to the Boston Globe, Central was given an extra down due to an officiating error.
A penalty and an injury delay may have complicated the situation, but due to a confluence of factors, Central was given a so-called fifth down while driving to gain the advantage in what was at the time a 24-24 game.
The Globe reports that the sequence played out as follows:
- First and 10 at the Everett 37: 6-yard run
- Second and 4 at the 31: 9-yard run negated by offensive holding (10 yard penalty from the spot of the foul, which occurred at the 30)
- Second and 13 at the 40: Incomplete pass
- Third and 13 at the 40: 2-yard run
- Third and 11 at the 38: 3-yard pass
- Fourth and 8 at the 35: 9-yard fake-punt
- First and 10 at the 26: 25-yard touchdown pass
The Globe reports that the down marker mistakenly wasn’t flipped after the incomplete pass, a play that was executed on third down — but which the down marker displayed as second down. As time expired in the third quarter, Central executed a 3-yard pass play on what was the team’s second attempt at third down.
“I’m sick to my stomach,” Everett coach Theluxon Pierre told the Globe. “How do you make that mistake?”
The game would eventually proceed to overtime, where Everett was ruled just short of the goal line on an extremely close 2-point conversion attempt that would have forced a second OT.
The Globe reports that the situation has raised questions about how the MIAA conducts state tournaments moving forward. Among the things being considered are implementing instant replay.