OAK PARK — Fenwick High School was just seconds away from its first-ever state title appearance Saturday when a bad call – that even officials admit was a mistake – brought those dreams to an end.
Fenwick has since filed suit against the Illinois High School Association, the body that manages high school sports in the state, the Chicago Sun-Times reports. In a statement, the school reportedly said its filing suit in Cook County “seeking declaratory, injunctive and other relief against IHSA.”
Fenwick was up 10-7 against Plainfield North with only seconds to go in the fourth quarter of the 7A semifinal game. Fenwick’s quarterback dropped back on fourth and 15, watched the game clock expire, and then heaved the ball down the field, thinking they had won the game.
But officials called intentional grounding and gave Plainfield North the ball for one final play at Fenwick’s five yard line. They kicked a game-tying field goal to force overtime. Then in extra time Fenwick and Plainfield scored back-to-back touchdowns, but Plainfield ultimately won the game 18-16, thanks to a two-point conversion.
The IHSA issued a statement Saturday night indicating game officials had made a mistake on the intentional grounding call, saying:
Per rule 334 in the 2016 NFHS football rules book, the game should have concluded on the final play of regulation and the untimed down should not have been awarded, but IHSA by-law 6.033 states that ‘the decisions of game officials shall be final.’
Students at Fenwick are clearly upset.
“It’s a travesty. It’s about integrity, it doesn’t give Fenwick the dignity we deserve to not even look at overturning the call or doing something with the game,” said Fenwick Sports editor Noah Shaar.
On the bright side, Plainfield North has also never gone to the state final. They will play East St. Louis in the 7A championship game Saturday in Champaign.