Dec. 7, 2011
BOSTON — Boston Mayor Thomas Menino said he’d have a celebratory lunch with the Cathedral High School football team Wednesday — disagreeing with the penalty that cost the team its shot at the state title.
Cathedral quarterback Matthew Owens was about to score the go-ahead touchdown in the final minutes of the Dec. 3 4A State Super Bowl when he briefly raised his left arm in triumph. A flag was thrown and the touchdown was nullified. Cathedral went on to lose, 16-14. The penalty came under a rule banning excessive on-field celebrations.
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Menino told WBZ-AM on Dec. 7 that the team members were "champions on the field and off the field." He thought the referee’s call was "ridiculous" and said the sportsmanship rules should allow for reasonable displays of exuberance by student athletes.
Owens’ gesture “was more of just a knee-jerk reaction for any athlete that’s performing a huge play…. We believe it was nothing other than a pure excitement move,” Cathedral athletic director Jimmy Lynch told WGBH News’ Jordan Weinstein on Dec. 6. “It’s just unfortunate that the call was interpreted a different way.”
Lynch said he supported the effort to improve sportsmanship in high school sports and cut down trash talk and taunting. But, he said, “I think the rule wasn’t created for a situation like this.”
The Mass. Interscholastic Athletic Association is reviewing the play to determine if the rule was applied properly. Cathedral is waiting for the MIAA’s official report before considering pursuing any kind of recourse, Lynch said.
Material from The Associated Press was used in this report.
Watch the disputed play:
WATCH THE PLAY