Friday night fiasco for Philo and John Glenn


By Nick McWilliams, Sports Director

In the words of John Glenn coach Matt Edwards, “life’s a fight, football’s a fight, Friday night’s a fight.”

Life is about the highs and lows, and football is a near perfect example of each side of the equation. On one hand is the exhilaration of everything moving in a positive direction, while the other is the gut-wrenching pain of defeat.

John Glenn’s 15-13 loss to Philo is the latter. But what adds to the bad taste left in the mouths of the Muskies is the controversy surrounding a pivotal sequence moments before halftime.

With a 7-3 lead and an offense that just came to life less than a minute before intermission, quarterback Evan Williams zipped a pass down the seam to what seemed like a relatively open receiver. Only problem is, the ball seemed to hang in the air for the amount of time it takes fans to get that fuzzy feeling in their guts only a 50/50 ball can bring.

Philo safety Eli Preston plucked the ball from the muggy night sky and preceded towards the Electrics sideline. A few moments and some missed tackles later, he was knocking on the door of the end zone.

But as the head referee trotted to the middle of the field and his microphone clicked on, a hush went over both sidelines. Offsetting, dead ball penalties were the call, which would in theory leave the ball at John Glenn’s own 15-yard line.

Something was lost in translation.

Edwards and his staff were irate by the call and where the spot was, leading to a delay that seemed to carry on for longer than the entire first half. After conferences with both sidelines, the rule book came out.

Around 24 minutes later, it was Philo ball where Preston was tackled. But the saga was far from over.

For the rest of the night, the Muskie sideline was buzzing with anger. Edwards expressed his discontent with the line judge on his sideline, but it was not the only call he would end up complaining about before the night was over.

The emotion on each side of the field was at two ends of the spectrum. On the Philo sideline, Dirk Lincicome and his team celebrated a victory that will go down as one of the most hard fought they’ve had this season. On the other, Edwards hung around his bench long after the game, staring out onto the field and trying to hold back his frustration.

Lincicome said following the game his team was given a fairly straightforward explanation.

“Offsetting penalties during the interception after possession changed, and they spotted the ball, walked one off, walked the other one off and boom, that’s it,” Lincicome explained. “We kicked the field goal. It took 25 minutes to figure it out. It seemed like it took three hours. I know Coach Edwards was upset with that and I don’t blame him. (Us) making that field goal, they still had the lead going into halftime. It is what it is.”

Edwards did not want to comment on the matter further at the end, opting to take the high road, saying it was something the team simply had to live with. Given his reaction on the sideline and judging by the general confusion on the field, however, the Muskie sideline was under a much different impression than Philo’s in terms of where the fouls occurred.

Only Lincicome and Edwards truly know what they the referees were discussing and what their respective teams were told. But their stories each seemed to reflect very different discussions.

Edwards did not place blame on the loss solely on the fiasco.

“There’s some things you can’t control, and that’s one of them,” he said. “That had nothing to do with the outcome of the game. Our kids battled to the very end. I thought they did a good job controlling both lines of scrimmage.”

John Glenn fell short of converting a two-point conversion that would have sent the game to overtime, which was something the Muskies’ coach felt was a bigger deciding factor than the one call that resulted in the delay.

With the game now a few hours in the rearview, both sides will quickly be moving ahead with very different types of games next on the schedule. John Glenn will be in a fight to keep playoff hopes alive when taking on Maysville, while Philo can send shockwaves through the conference with a win over Tri-Valley.

But it will be hard for the rest of the season not to reflect on one of the more bizarre circumstances any high school football fan can imagine.

What’s football without a little controversy?