MIAA tries to turn tables for criticized penalty on coach

Cameron Smith

On Saturday Boston (Mass.) Cathedral High fell in the Div. 4A Super Bowl after quarterback Matt Owens was penalized for raising his left arm 20 yards from a presumptive game-winning touchdown. The flag nullified Owens' score, and within days fans around the country had expressed general rage over the fact that Owens was penalized for such a relatively minor celebratory moment.

In the aftermath of that national media spotlight, the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association cited referees' reports from the game in which the officials working the game claim that Cathedral coach Duane Sigsbury failed to challenge the call after it was made. In turn, Sigsbury has now stepped forward to angrily deny those claims to the Boston Herald, insisting that he immediately challenged the referees but was dismissed out of hand.

"I asked for an explanation and I didn't get one. It was very chaotic when it all happened," Sigsbury told the Herald. "Believe me, I was pretty adamant. The call was made and it's something we're going to have to live with.

"Once they put that ball in play, we were focused on trying to make the next play to score. You know they're not going to change the call at that point in the game."

Meanwhile, the MIAA continues to try and paper over the incident, releasing another statement citing the call and subsequent Cathedral disappointment as a life lesson for the players involved.

Losing a game, having an official's call go against you, even occasionally having an official's mistake go against you or your team are all part of sports. Athletic officials try hard to do the best job possible but they are human. Athletes must learn to put these things behind them and move forward.

That excuse did little to convince Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, who dropped in at Cathedral to extend an invitation to a public victory lunch to the team.

"This kid was 18 years old, his birthday, running for the Super Bowl championship," Menino told the Herald. "You wouldn't be a human being if you didn't show some expression."

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