Heavenward

August 31, 2011

Should he be penalized?  Yes.  Should they blame the refs?  No.  Is it a game of any significance?  In their minds, yes, but in reality, no, not really.

Thoughts?

As reported by the Associated Press and a variety of Ohio sources, the “excessive celebration” came as Louisville wide receiver Alex Schooley and teammate Gavin Lovejoy met each other in the end zone after Schooley’s late touchdown reception, which gave Louisville a 26-24 lead. Instinctively, the two Louisville players pointed at the sky, a motion intended to pay tribute to a close friend who had died in an accident just days before.

That’s when a flag flew in from an official, citing excessive celebration because the players’ heavenward point was considered an action that drew attention to themselves. Despite Louisville coach John DeMarco’s protestations, the penalty stood, as did the narrow, 26-24 lead following a missed two-point conversion.

The penalty pushed back the ensuing kickoff 15 yards, and Walsh Jesuit returned the boot all the way to the Louisville 29-yard line. Less than a minute-and-a-half of official time later, Walsh Jesuit was celebrating a come-from-behind, season-opening 27-26 win while Louisville was bemoaning a misinterpreted honor for a friend.

As the AP reported, Ohio High School Athletic Association assistant commissioner Henry Zaborniak said that the game officials responsible for the call were actually correct in penalizing the tribute, as it could be considered offensive to the other team without first knowing the context of the gesture.

Still, Louisville fans and football parents are still in an uproar over the perceived slight, or lack of flexibility shown by officials in a season-opening football clash for both schools.

“[It was just] a simple gesture to heaven,” Ann Miller, the grandmother of a Louisville player, told the AP.

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