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After a HS playoff games ends controversially, one school suggests replaying the final minute

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In Oklahoma high school playoff action late last week, Locust Grove HS beat Douglass HS on a controversial ending, sending them to the state semifinals.

The controversy took place on a 4th and 11, late in the fourth quarter and was more of an enforcement issue by the officiating crew regarding a penalty rather than an actual controversial call.

On that fourth down, Douglass scored from 58 yards out, and what seemed to have been the game winning touchdown, only to be wiped away by a sideline infraction penalty (the team had already received a warning earlier in the game). Instead of it being a dead ball penalty, the officials made Douglass replay the down and they then failed to convert, giving the ball back to Locust Grove to run out the clock for the 20-19 win.

The day following the game, the OSSAA acknowledged that the penalty was enforced incorrectly with a statement that read in part:

Today the OSSAA Director of Officials Mike Whaley has apologized for the results of the officials' error at the 3A quarterfinal playoff game between Douglass and Locust Grove when the officials incorrectly enforced a penalty near the end of the contest that erased a Douglass touchdown.

National Federation Football Rules state the penalty for a second offense of Rule 9-8-3 shall be a dead ball foul and five-yard penalty. Dead ball fouls are enforced from the succeeding spot, which in this case should have been the extra point or succeeding kickoff. The officials erred by penalizing from the preceding spot and negating the results of the play.

This error by the officials is inexcusable at this level and the results are extremely unfortunate for the players, coaches, and fans involved. This mistake is compounded by the fact that it occurred in a playoff elimination game. A reprimand of the crew will be filed and the crew has been removed from further OSSAA playoff consideration.

Based on those facts, the Oklahoma City Public school system. released a statement of their own, suggesting that they replay the final minute of the game, and the idea is gaining traction.

And yes, they're 100% serious. Here's their statement via News9.com.

"We appreciate the Oklahoma Secondary School Athletic Association's (OSSAA) apology and the disciplinary action taken against the officiating crew; but that alone will not suffice. The incorrect penalty call during Friday's 3A quarterfinal playoff game left the hardworking student athletes from Douglass Mid-High School disappointed and confused; these talented young men should not be forced to live with the mistakes made by adults."

"Coach Willis Alexander has asked the OSSAA to make this right and allow both teams to return to the field, enforce the penalty correctly, and finish the game as it should have finished Friday night. The Oklahoma City Public Schools administration fully supports the request Coach Alexander made on behalf of his team and believe the OSSAA has a great opportunity to right a wrong on the behalf of the students it was established to serve. We understand that this will be a first for OSSAA but every courageous decision ever made required someone to go first and not accept the traditional, 'this is the way it has always been done' attitude. We are at the point when apologies are not enough and we must correct this for the sake of the students who participate in sports across our District."

Oklahoma coaching icon Barry Switzer has come out in support of the idea, saying; “They need to give Douglass the touchdown and play it out from there. Five high school officials didn’t know the rules, and how to enforce the penalty. That’s what needs to be done to fix it.” he told the Oklahoman.

I can certainly understand everyone's logic and the disappointment that the Douglass program is going through, but let's be realistic; re-playing the last 60 seconds of a game isn't going to solve anything. In no way does that simulate a real game at any level.

However, the sting of losing a playoff game like that is enough to get any coach grasping for straws on how to right the wrongs. A simple apology from the state athletic association isn't enough consolation for crushing the state title dreams of players and coaches.

Tough situation for all involved, no question. This is one of those situations where there is really no logical way to make things right.