Clerical error proves painful for Massachusetts football team

Cameron Smith
Prep Rally

A small Massachusetts high school football team underwent as wild an emotional rollercoaster as imaginable in the span of 48 hours, winning a classic Thanksgiving weekend tussle to earn a berth in the annual Voke Bowl, only to be told a day later that it hadn't qualified for the game because of a clerical error by the committee in charge of setting up the state bowl games.

Minuteman Tech football
Minuteman Tech football

As first reported by the Boston Herald, Lexington (Mass.) Minuteman Regional Technical High celebrated what it understood would be a forthcoming berth in the Massachusetts Small Vocational Bowl game after its 18-8 win against Malden (Mass.) Mystic Valley Regional High on Black Friday. By all accounts, all Minuteman had to do to qualify for its first Voke Bowl under head coach Brian Tildsley was beat Mystic Valley.

Instead, the 7-4 record that Minuteman sported after the Mystic Valley victory still fell short of the winning percentage compiled by Lynn (Mass.) Tech, which ended up receiving the Voke Bowl berth everyone had assigned to Minuteman Tech.

How could such a mistake have been made? The answer is simultaneously remarkably simple and hard to believe: Lynn Tech's alleged loss to Cape Cod (Mass.) Tech was actually a 31-14 win. That win in turn pushed Lynn Tech's win total to seven, and matched the official winning percentage of Minuteman, with both schools concluding the regular season with a 7-4 record.

"It was brought to our attention Friday afternoon by the Lynn Tech people that we had listed their record incorrectly," Blackstone (Mass.) Valley bowl committee representative Michele Denise told the Herald's Dan Ventura. "We saw the mistake and we corrected it."

Why Lynn Tech's 7-4 would constitute a stronger 7-4 than the one compiled by Minuteman Regional has yet to be stipulated by the Massachusetts Vocational football committee which officially extended Voke Bowl bid to Lynn Tech on Saturday evening.

Indeed, the mistake was eventually rectified, but not until after one school had two days dreaming of a Thursday night under the lights in a game which would receive statewide attention. That's the kind of error that can ruin a lot of holidays, particularly those of anyone who dreamed of seeing Minuteman Tech cap off its five-year football resurrection with a spot in the 2011 Voke Bowl.

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