September 7, 2010

Coaches have opposing views of controversy

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Dallas Jackson is the Senior Analyst for RivalsHigh. Email him your question, comment or story ideas to and follow him on Twitter.

As quarterback Jacoby Brissett and the rest of his West Palm Beach (Fla.) Dwyer teammates seemingly surged into the end zone in the final seconds of their nationally televised matchup of top-twenty high school football teams, they thought they had a victory.

They turned to the officials and got ... nothing.

The play wasn't ruled a touchdown or marked down on the field. The ball was never spotted on the field for another play. Instead, the precious final seconds ticked off the clock and Cleveland (Ohio) Glenville raced off the field with a 26-22 triumph.

It was a stunning ending to the marquee matchup at the Herbstreit Football Classic played at the famed Horseshoe in Columbus, Ohio.

It's hard to say it was a hometown (or home-state) call - as there wasn't one made at all.

But Dwyer, No. 11 in the RivalsHigh Top 100 rankings, made its feelings known: It felt it was robbed of a big victory over No. 4 Glenville.

"It sucks," Dwyer coach Jack Daniels told RivalsHigh in a phone interview shortly after the game. "It sucks that we played a game like that and had it taken away from our kids."

Daniels and Dwyer had little recourse. Replay is not used in high school football - even when it's played at a big-time venue. Daniels, in fact, couldn't even get an answer from the officials.

"I had some choice words I wanted to share with the refs," Daniels said. "I didn't get to talk to them though. I never saw referees leave the field so fast."

Here's the deal: That would not have been the only play he questioned. The play before, Brissett was ruled down at the 1-inch line on another quarterback sneak. Daniels, admitted, that one was iffy.

"The first one I can see as being questionable," he said. "The second one, at least on our video, showed our offensive line surge a good yard into the end zone and Jacoby was right behind them."

And earlier in the drive, a seemingly successful pass-and-catch touchdown was ruled out of bounds.

"When it happened, everybody on our sideline thought it was a touchdown," Daniels said. "His body was all the way in when he came down with the ball, but the guy who made the call was so out of position we knew we weren't getting that one."

Glenville offensive coordinator Tony Overton was gracious afterward.

"It is tough that either one of those two teams had to come away with a loss," he said also in a phone interview. "Dwyer played their hearts out, but so did we."

From the Glenville sideline, the plays could have gone either way.

"The pass in the end zone, I couldn't tell to be honest," Overton said. "I am all the way over on the far sideline so the referees ruled that what they ruled it. I haven't seen the replay yet."

He had the same reaction to the goal-line plays.

"Again, I didn't see the replay and I know there were a bunch of bodies in the pile," he said. "I was hoping they didn't snap the ball and stick the ball over the end zone - they were that close and their quarterback is big enough to do it. I guess we got lucky that he tried to push it into the end zone."

Overton, however, wouldn't apologize for being on the right end of the calls. Calls, he said, are part of the game.

"I have been here almost 10 years and we have had a lot of near misses, bad bounces and bad calls go against us so I do feel for them," he said. "But it has made our kids tougher and I am sure they will grow together and be better for it as well. What (Coach) Jack (Daniels) has done with that program is really remarkable and I am sure they will be successful. This loss shouldn't slow them down in their goals, which I am sure is to win states."

Daniels - while still fuming over the calls - told his team it should have never been in that position, that earlier mistakes prevented more points earlier in the game.

"I have told the guys we made mistakes that cost us, and that the refs hurt us but did not lose the game for us," he said.

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