Referee backtracks, surprisingly reverses ejection decisions

Tuesday, Prep Rally wrote about a case of very-deserved in-game discipline, when Desoto County (Fla.) High basketball star Mason Holland tossed around a referee like a dog with a chew toy in the middle of a game. Holland was immediately ejected and suspended from the team, and the game was forfeited. Another feisty altercation happened in a big weekend game, though this skirmish was between two players and had a much less definitive outcome, with little record that it ever even occurred.

According to the Dallas Morning News, Denton Guyer (Texas) High safety Zach Bush and an unidentified Longview (Texas) High player were briefly ejected from the teams' Class 4A state semifinal, the game which was absurdly played in Louisiana despite being a Texas playoff game. Why were the players only kicked out briefly? Because the official who sent the players off for fighting recanted his decision moments later when the coaches of the two teams pleaded with him for their players' mercy.

That's right, an official pulled back a straight disciplinary decision after being cajoled by a pair of coaches. In this case, there seems to be little doubt that the uniformity of the two coaches' opinions helped sway the referee to overturn himself, yet it still seems an odd decision, particularly given the fact that fighting in a game brings with it an automatic game misconduct penalty.

Yet, as much as the decision may have gone outside traditional guidelines, it also might have been a good one for the course of the game. Neither team racked up many personal-foul penalties after the second-quarter altercation, with Guyer eventually escaping with a victory thanks to a dramatic final minute in which the Dallas-area power blocked a punt and then scored the game-winning touchdown.

Did those ends justify the means? That's for everyone to decide for themselves. What we do know is that high school coaches must become even more persuasive deep in the playoffs, or at least they're more persuasive when the game is held outside of their own state. Maybe that's the trick.

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