Giving the game away on mistakes

Published 11:59 pm Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Anything may happen in a game. A foul committed last week, not only cost that team the game, but likely cost them their chance for a successful season.

The foul falls under the ‘you never know what a kid is going to do’ category. The home team, tied 14 – 14 with a strong visiting squad, broke what was apparently a 62-yard touchdown run. But wait.

A teammate of the runner, following the play, blocked (from the rear) an opponent. That wasn’t so bad, except the foul happened out on the 12-yard line, and appeared to happen after the runner had scored.

Email newsletter signup

The result should have been a 15-yard mark off on the ensuing kick off, but the official ruled the illegal block had happened before the score. The penalty, enforced from the 12-yard line, wiped out the touchdown and forced the home team to settle for a field goal.

The visitors took full advantage of the break in momentum and roared back with two more touchdowns to win going away. The home coach, to his credit, did not name the offending player. He only commented that “stupid play” cost them the game.

The illegal contact was totally unnecessary and appeared to this writer to be simply an attempt to get in a ‘cheap shot.’ Offensive pursuit is a trait sought after in offensive linemen, but good sense must be exercised. Controlled aggressiveness is what football is all about.

The official in this story could have just as easily ruled the violation a personal foul. That would have tacked on another five yards, and might have even cost the team the field goal.

Last week I mentioned a couple of officiating calls in Mississippi State’s Tulane game and in the LSU v Virginia Tech game that came “under review.”

In the State game a touchdown by State was not allowed because the replay official (correctly) determined that a pass receiver was actually still ‘juggling’ the ball before getting control inbounds.

In the LSU game, the replay official ruled that Virginia Tech had scored on a close goal line play. Television replays could not tell for certain.

My point is that I have found that replay officials are assigned by the home team’s conference and do not necessarily come with the visiting officials.

That means that the replay officials for the Mississippi State v Tulane game were assigned by Conference USA and those for the LSU game were from the SEC. No inference of bias can be made from either of those facts. Fortunately, neither call impacted the game’s outcomes.

The only ‘eight-man’ result I notice this week reinforces the ‘more scoring’ notion. Rebul Academy defeated Mt. Salus 72 – 40.

Congratulations to Trinity as they continue their ‘post Ridley’ era with a sound victory over Tri-County Friday night. I see Parker Brumfield involved his feet along with his arm this time.

The Ferriday win over Vidalia must have been a real barn-burner, and I am glad to see Natchez High on a winning plane after so many years.

My condolences to son-in-law Craig Beesley at Cathedral.

A couple of close losses bring back memories of his dad’s opening season so many years ago. And look how successful that coach’s career ended up. ACCS will rebound.

Of course, nobody in the state compares to the University of South Panola in the high school ranks. I hope they do not draw the officiating crew I witnessed Friday night.

That bunch was absolutely incompetent. They (all of them) did not know the rules. An ‘inadvertent whistle’ is perhaps the worst thing an official can have, but to mess up the enforcement after it happens only compounded the error. I know what I am talking about there.

And, That’s Official

Al Graning writes a weekly column for The Democrat. He can be reached at