An Oak Park Catholic high school whose football team was robbed of a trip to the state championship game by an obviously blown call from officials overseeing the game has asked a Cook County judge to step in an overturn the game result.
On Nov. 21, Fenwick High School filed suit in Cook County Circuit Court against the Illinois High School Association, the organization that oversees high school athletics in Illinois, asking the court to issue a restraining order, to be followed by a permanent injunction, to essentially declare Fenwick the winner of that IHSA Class 7A state semifinals playoff game, which was decided in large part by a mistaken call by the game’s referees at the end of regulation.
On Saturday, Nov. 19, Fenwick squared off against Plainfield North High School at Triton College in suburban River Grove for the chance to advance to the state title game, scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 26.
With Fenwick leading 10-7 in the closing seconds, a final fourth down pass from Fenwick fell incomplete as time expired, appearing to give Fenwick the win. However, officials flagged Fenwick for intentional grounding on the play, and then decided to give Plainfield North a final untimed down, declaring the game couldn’t end on an intentional grounding penalty. Plainfield North then kicked a field goal to tie the game and won the game 18-17 in overtime.
Immediately after the game, the IHSA declared the officials’ decision had been an egregious error, as the rules do not allow such an additional play to be awarded.
Fenwick said the IHSA invited the Oak Park school to appeal the result. However, on appeal, the IHSA said its rules don’t allow it to overturn the result of the game, as the decisions of the officials on the field are final.
Fenwick responded with the emergency motion for relief, filed Monday.
Published reports have indicated a hearing has been scheduled for Wednesday to hear arguments on the matter.