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Team penalized for moment of silence for Sept. 11 victims

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Like any number of Americans, the teams and fans at the Washington high school football game between Skyline (Wash.) High and Bellevue (Wash.) High, currently ranked No. 24 in the RivalsHigh 100, wanted to honor those who died in the Sept. 11 attacks. Like those at many stadiums, Skyline officials arranged for a moment of silence for all in attendance before the highly anticipated matchup between the schools kicked off, a commemoration all agreed upon.

Still, that agreement didn't stop Washington officials from throwing a flag for delay of game, and blaming that penalty on the moment of silence.

As first highlighted by the Seattle Times, officials at the Skyline-Bellevue game employed what can only be considered a very literal interpretation of the rules when deciding to assess a delay of game penalty against Skyline in conjunction with the pre-arranged moment of silence.

According to Seattle Times reporter Mason Kelley, Washington standards hold that any delay after the pregame clock hits 0:00 will be assessed a delay of game penalty. That left little room for interpretation for officials, even if most in attendance probably would have been opposed to the penalty being enforced.

[Photos: Sports landscape following 9/11 | 9/11 tributes in sports]

The teams were on their respective sidelines and the national anthem was concluded before the pregame clock expired, but the moment of silence came after that.

Luckily, the penalty appeared to have little impact on the game, if any at all. After gaining the extra 5 yards for the penalty, Bellevue booted the opening kickoff through the end zone, with Skyline starting at its own 20-yard line. Shortly thereafter, the Spartans had driven 80 yards and were celebrating an opening touchdown in the end zone.

Bellevue would eventually have plenty of its own to celebrate thanks to a 31-17 victory. You can see highlights from that Wolverines win above. Still, the lasting image of the game may be a bizarre penalty flag flying before any action had taken place.

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