2005-11-24 / Sports



The final turning point of the game against Savannah Country Day came with about two-and-a-half minutes to go when a controversial pass play was ruled complete to Gary Wilburn at the SCD 9-yard-line. It led to the Tigers’ go-ahead touchdown and lit the fire that spawned two more before the end of the game.

Many would argue that the pass was caught by the SCD defender and that the official made a bad call. Tiger Head Coach Russell Morgan, concerned that that may have been the case, carefully reviewed the film in slow motion and offered the following explanation.

“Everybody’s been talking about it and I was wondering myself if he made the right call. But I went back and watched the film in slow motion, and you can see it all. It was actually a great call,” he said.

Describing the moment-by-moment developments of the reception, Morgan continued:

“They go up and their kid has the grip on the ball while they’re off the ground and Gary has one hand on the ball. As they come down, Gary pulls with his one hand and because he is that much stronger, pulls him around face to face. At about the time their feet hit the ground, both of them have their hands on the ball and as they start falling, they both have it clutched against each other’s chest fighting over it. And when their knees touch the ground, they both have it. He rolls over on Gary while they both have it and when he gets up he snatches the ball away. So actually it was the right call – both of them had possession at the end of the play and a tie always goes to the offense.”

Morgan also said that he has sent a copy of the film to the officials’ association for their own use.

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