Few prep football games over the extended Labor Day weekend received more pre-game hype than the match up pitting Tampa (Fl.) Plant High and Tyrone (Ga.) Sandy Creek High. Plant, a traditional national power, traveled to Tyrone, Georgia to take part in the Brothers in Arms classic, a two-game slate that also featured Elkton (Md.) Eastern Christian Academy facing off against Banneker (Ga.) High.
While the first game went off without a hitch, the second ended in a tie, for reasons that were both novel and unique.
First, Eastern Christian, led by longtime USC quarterback commitment David Sills, rolled to a 56-13 paying of Banneker. No drama there.
Then Plant and Sandy Creek took the field on time for their scheduled 8:30 kickoff. Exactly three hours later, they walked off the field with 1:50 still remaining in the fourth quarter with the game halted and declared a 27-27 tie.
So what happened?
The answer is a unique twist to Georgia state football bylaws. According to state rules, any games played on school nights must end by 11:30. When the heated game rolled on and reached the 11:30 time on the official clock with 1:50 still showing on the stadium scoreboard, officials had no choice but to declare the game a tie.
As reported by the Tampa Bay Times, Sandy Creek's Brian Miller blocked a 34-yard field goal attempt by Plant that would have won the game for the Panthers with 2:24 remaining in the contest. Sandy Creek got off a couple of snaps before hitting the 11:30 time barrier, but couldn't sustain a drive deep enough to engineer a potential game-winning play.
Regardless of disappointment over a first blot on the season record for both squads, Plant could take some solace in the tie in that it represented a move in the right direction for the Panthers' out-of-state trips. As noted by the Times, the team has played outside of Florida three times in the past four years and has yet to register a victory. The other two games were losses.
After all, even if it's like kissing your sister, a tie is better than a loss in the record books.
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