Print and Go Back ESPN.com: High-SchoolMassachusetts [Print without images]

Wednesday, December 7, 2011
MIAA responds to Super Bowl celebration controversy

By By Mike Grimala

The MIAA and the officials working the EMass Division 4 Super Bowl have been getting hammered by the national media for a questionable (VERY questionable, in my opinion) celebration penalty that may have altered the outcome of the game. Today, the MIAA released a statement defending the way things went down.

For the unfamiliar, Cathedral quarterback Matt Owens appeared to give his team the lead with a 56-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter. But Owens slightly extended his arm before crossing the goal line, and officials flagged him for premature celebration. The TD was negated, Cathedral turned the ball over shortly thereafter, and Blue Hills went on to win the game, 16-14.

Here's a portion of the MIAA's statement:
At the start of the season the MIAA and football officials took comprehensive measures to ensure that everyone understood this rule. In fact, the officials at this game reminded the captains and coaches that there would be zero tolerance for any unsportsmanlike actions. Likewise, this message was communicated in the pre-playoff game administrative meeting, as well as the MIAA’s Super Bowl Breakfast with coaches and captains.

And later, we get this fun little life lesson:
Losing a game or having an official’s call go against you or your team are all part of sports. Just like athletes and coaches, officials try hard to do the best job possible. Athletes must learn to put these things behind them and move forward. During their lifetime they will experience similar situations where they feel “wronged” by a superior or authority figure and they must learn to deal with that situation.

Gee, thanks for that.

To see video of the play and the penalty in question, click here.

To read the complete MIAA statement (in PDF form), click here.

Follow Mike Grimala on Twitter (@ESPNHSGrimala). It's fun!