Despite a controversial call that the IHSA deemed was wrong, Plainfield North will still take on East St. Louis in the IHSA Class 7A football finals.
With only three seconds left on the clock and Fenwick ahead 10-7, Friar quarterback Jacob Keller faked as he was taking a knee and heaved the ball down field as the home sideline exploded in celebration.
A flag, however, was thrown for intentional grounding and after a conversation it was ruled that North would have the ball on the penalty and one untimed down.
With that down, Connor Peplow nailed a 22-yard field goal to tie the game and send it to overtime, where North won 18-17 on a touchdown and 2-point conversion from Dillon McCarthy.
Following the game, however, the IHSA ruled the call was incorrect.
In a statement released after the game. IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson said, “On the final play of the fourth quarter in today’s IHSA Class 7A Semifinal Football game between Fenwick High School and Plainfield North High School, an error was made by the officiating crew, which resulted in an untimed down being awarded to Plainfield North.
On the untimed down, Plainfield North tied the contest with a field goal and then went on to win the game in overtime. Per Rule 3-3-4 in the 2016 NFHS Football Rules Book, the game should have concluded on the final play of regulation and the untimed down should not have been awarded.
IHSA by-law 6.033 clearly states that “the decisions of game officials shall be final; protests against the decision of a game official shall not be reviewed by the Board of Directors.”
Given that rule, the contest result shall remain final with Plainfield North advancing to the Class 7A State Championship.
On behalf of the IHSA, I express my sincerest apologies to Coach Nudo and his players and coaching staff, as well as to the entire Fenwick administration and community. I understand that it will be difficult to find a silver lining in this particular situation, but I do hope that Fenwick takes pride in all they accomplished today and this season.
There is no doubt that the crew assigned to officiate this contest by the IHSA should have known this rule and they were forthcoming about the error in conversations after the game. The crew also understands that there will be an assessment of their performance and consequences from the IHSA as a result of this error.
We will continue to be proactive in our efforts to educate our officials, while also working with our membership and Board of Directors, of which Fenwick Principal Peter Groom is a valued member, to evaluate IHSA by-laws and policy related to officiating.”
The trip to the state finals is the first ever for Plainfield North and any Plainfield District 202 football program.