There are plenty of strange circumstances under which a team can forfeit a game. Still, none may be more bizarre than the ones under which the Seattle (Wash.) Garfield team walked off the field from their first game of the 2011 season, when the Bulldogs forfeited their season opener after their coach disagreed with a single call by the game's officials.
According to KING 5 TV in Seattle, the coach who ordered his team off the field has now been placed on administrative leave after just one game on the job, all because he refused to let his team play out the rest of the game after he was infuriated by what he considered to be a blown call.
As covered by the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and KING 5 -- and documented in the user-submitted video to KING 5 below -- Garfield was trailing Lake Washington (Wash.) High, 14-0, in the third quarter of the season opener for both teams. That's when Garfield coughed up the ball on a running play and Lake Washington recovered.
Or, at least the referees on the field ruled that Lake Washington recovered. Garfield coach Kelvin Goliday didn't like the call, and immediately pulled his players from the field, calling a timeout to try and discuss the play with officials. The officials refused to discuss the play with Goliday, saying that their ruling on a prior play was final. After two minutes, Garfield's team was supposed to return to the field, but it didn't. When the team still wouldn't come back out for the snap after the play clock wound all the way down, Goliday was hit with a delay of game penalty.
With their coach gone, the Bulldogs still refused to come out on to the field, leaving officials no choice but to award the game to Lake Washington as a 14-0 forfeit.
"I've never seen that before ever," Lake Washington athletic director George Crowder told KING 5.
On Monday, Goliday spoke about the incident for the first time with the Seattle Times, citing safety concerns for pulling his team off the field. In particular, on the fumble play that precipitated the bizarre forfeit, Goliday felt that officials should have stopped action long before the ball was stripped.
"The timeout to call him over for a safety issue, I would have done anyway," Goliday told the Times. "It was just the timing of it. I really think that would have changed the entire night. Being down 14-0, you haven't lost the game. It's early third quarter. You're still in the game. But what do I do? What do I do when I feel like I need to be heard at that time?"
"I'm not sure what the issues were on his side. All I can go with is my observation. It was a very typical first football game," Crowder told the Times. "My observation, there was nothing that would indicate that kids were in any more danger than they are in any typical high school game."
While Garfield's decision to forfeit a game by pulling all its players off the field is not the first time a coach has made that drastic decision, it might be the first time such a voluntary forfeit followed such a trivial dispute. After all, it's not like Garfield was out of the game; the Kangs only had a two-possession lead with more than a quarter remaining in the game.
The remainder of the game will never be played, and fans who were in attendance at the game continue to express their astonishment at what unfolded before them in the third quarter.
"He just taught them if they don't like what's going on, just give up and quit," Lake Washington fan Nic Tomei told KING 5.
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