school referee’s controversial measurement overshadows comeback – USA TODAY High School Sports

  • October 31, 2022

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Senior Nights and opening rounds of the playoffs. Divisional and regional battles. For some, the end of a season. All of what makes late-October high school football so impactful was marginally overshadowed this past week by a controversial call during a New Jersey South Group 5 NJSIAA Regional Invitational Tournament.
If you haven’t seen the now-viral video, here’s a look:
Just a product of fast-paced confusion? Misaligned chains? An Eastern Vikings super fan who couldn’t resist? Regardless, the official’s actions have been a hot topic since Thursday, with a tweet of the moment picking up over 5 million views in 24 hours.
But, as Vineland’s head coach Dan Russo explained to NJ Advance Media on Friday, there’s little that could have been done after the questionable spot occurred.
“I saw it, 100% saw it and questioned the decision,” Russo said. “The official on my side of the field said the referee just turned the ball. I complained but there’s no instant replay like college or the NFL. There was nothing I could do.”
In a karma-filled twist, although the call gave the Vikings the lead, it would not secure the win.
Following the go-ahead score, Vineland returned the kickoff well into Eastern territory, and as the clock ticked down, scored the game-winning touchdown for a 20-19 victory.
Under the circumstances, that type of mental toughness and no-quit effort makes the final score even more impressive. The real story.
However, while that should be the celebrated focus—one more highlight of late-October heroics—Sunday’s news cycle was still very much abuzz with the poorly spotted fourth-down mark.
Mike Cherenson, a spokesperson for NJSIAA, provided this response via email to “NJSIAA has reviewed the video of the Vineland versus Eastern state playoff football game and, in agreement with the New Jersey Football Officials Association, has determined that the entire officiating crew – pending a hearing next week with the South Chapter of the New Jersey Football Officials Association – will not be assigned future postseason games.”
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