December 13, 2011
It was one of the most bizarre endings to a high school football game you'll ever see. With the Class 5A Division I state semifinals hanging in the balance, Southlake (Texas) Carroll High needed a miracle to make it to the state title game.
Down 10 points to Dallas (Texas) Skyline High with 2:26 left in the game, Carroll turned in one of the most incredible comebacks in state history, scoring a touchdown in just over a minute, and then recovering the onside kick to set the stage for a 35-yard touchdown run from quarterback Kenny Hill to give Carroll the lead -- and ultimately a 28-24 victory -- with 46 seconds left in the game.
It was an unbelievable finish -- that was even capped off by a fox running across the field during the game-winning run -- but by Monday morning, Skyline fans weren't lamenting the last-minute meltdown. They were instead fuming over what the school considered to be a glaring mistake by the referee during Carroll's onside kick.
As WFAA-TV and the Dallas Morning News reported, Skyline filed a formal complaint with the University Interscholastic League on Monday night to protest the referee's decision to give Carroll the ball, even though, as Skyline claimed, it never traveled 10 yards during the onside kick.
Rules state the football must go 10 yards before it's considered a live ball, but based on WFAA's video footage, it's hard to tell if the ball ended up going that far before it was recovered. If you look closely in both the videos above and below, you can see the ball hit right at the 50 and then bounce backwards before a Carroll player recovers the kick on what appears to be the 49-yard line.
"I think the play needs to be reviewed to make sure it's the correct call," Sandy Wilson, president of Skyline's alumni association, told WFAA-TV. "The NFL does it. College does it. Yes, it's high school, but it's important to these young people because they've got to remember this the rest of their lives."
Even though Skyline should feel hard done by the call, UIL rules state that a game is considered over when the final whistle blows. That means even if the UIL were to side with Skyline, there's no chance the ruling could be overturned.
It's tough luck for the school -- which came into the semifinal game undefeated -- but with a team loaded with junior talent, there's a good chance Skyline could make a return to the state semifinals next season.
Next time around, however, you'd have to imagine it'll do everything in its power to run out the clock and ensure the opposition never gets the opportunity to try an onside kick in the waning minutes of the game.