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Commentary: Reed robbed of victory, thieves still at large
by Damian Tromerhauser
Sep 24, 2012 | 6153 views | 3 3 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Last Friday night in the state capitol of Nevada, there was a grand robbery. The thieves are still at large and were last seen leaving the scene of the crime wearing black pants with a white stripe down the sides, zebra print shirts, black caps and whistles around their necks.

Now, the robbers did not break into a bank and escape with bags of money or even heist thousands of dollars worth of precious pearls and diamonds from a jewelry store. Nope, instead the burglars snuck onto the football field at Carson High, crept up behind the Reed High School football team and pick-pocketed a victory, right out of the Raiders’ hands.

After Reed got off to a slow start against the Senators, watching Carson build a 26-17 advantage midway through the third quarter, the Raiders mounted a comeback en route to snaring a 30-26 lead with 2:05 left in the game.
 Not willing to give up on a Homecoming win, Carson drove the length of the field with a crisp two-minute drill to put itself in prime position to steal the game back from the Raiders. Unfortunately for the Senators, the referees beat them to the punch.

With 0:01 left on the game clock, and the Senators at Reed’s 16-yard line, Carson quarterback Garrett Schafer rifled a pass to an open Matt Nolan. Catching the ball at the 1-yard line, Nolan turned and took a step toward the end zone. Crashing down on the play, Reed’s Austin Warner delivered a shoulder into Nolan that probably has receivers throughout the local prep world waking up in the middle of the night dripping sweat. The nightmarish hit stopped Nolan’s momentum at the goal line and sent the ball flying out of his hands and bouncing along the turf.
 Unsure whether to call a touchdown or incompletion, the officials huddled and conferred before signaling a touchdown, nearly a minute later, giving Carson a 32-30 victory.

After the game, Reed head coach Ernie Howren took the high road and said the last play and subsequent call did not decide the outcome of the game. Howren pointed to a number of moments that the Raiders failed to capitalize on, any of which could have changed the course of the contest, which was very true. However, it did not take away from the fact that despite Reed’s handful of missed opportunities, the Raiders still managed to put themselves in position to walk away with a win before the refs took the game into their own hands on the final play, in fact deciding the outcome.

I am not saying that officiating a game is an easy task, in any sport or at any level. And with the speed at which the Raiders and Senators were flying around the field on Friday night, specifically on the final play of the game, I would not have wanted to be in the shoes of the officials. The referees had to make a decision on a bang-bang play that, had you blinked, you would have been left asking what just happened.

Unfortunately, I think some of the referees may have done just that at the exact moment that Warner collided with Nolan because they got the call wrong.
 According to the official National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) rulebook, under Rule 8, Section 2, Article 1.a, a touchdown is scored when: “…a runner advances from the field of play so that the ball penetrates the vertical plane of the opponent’s goal line.” 

The NFHS rulebook also states under Rule 2, Section 4, Article 1 that a catch: … is the act of establishing player possession of a live ball which is in flight, and first contacting the ground inbounds while maintaining possession of the ball.” 
 So, let’s look back at that last play.

Did Nolan establish possession of the ball?

Did Nolan contact the ground inbounds?

Did Nolan maintain possession of the ball? Uh-oh.

While the referees got the call wrong, the win is in the record books for Carson, and the loss for Reed. Both teams have probably moved on from the game, focusing on improvement and their next opponents. For the players, they have to answer to their coaches, and the coaches have to look themselves in the mirror, but my question is: Who holds the officials, that are still out on the loose, responsible for their performance?

Damian Tromerhauser is a Sparks Tribune sports reporter. He can be reached via email at

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Replacement Ref
September 26, 2012
What Robbery? My son begged me to give him a homecoming victory. I worked hard for that win. It takes a lot of effort to make sure that there are suddenly clock issues in the last minute. Without my instructions the Senators wouldn't have made it to the 50. My armis still sore from all of those flags I threw against the Raiders. Pass intereference is a beautiful thing. I also had to convince the other officials that it was a touchdown when everyone in the stadium watched the ball rolling around on the ten yard line. To top it off I had to catch a flight to Seattle for the Monday night game. Can you say simultaneous possession? Go Senators! I mean Go Seahawks! Rats I just heard Iost my Sunday job.
Victoria R.
September 25, 2012
Totally agree. There is video of this final play another local paper's website. Interestingly, you see at the end of the video, one of the referees and a Carson football player chat and are hugging!!! Unbelievable...Fair officiating??? Your article is 100% accurate!! This should be reported to the appropriate channels.
September 25, 2012
I too saw the video on your competitors website and would have to disagree with the assertion that this was a case of unfair officiating. It was a judgement call. When the receiver crossed the plane of the goal line, with possession of the football, the play is over and it is a touchdown.

Coach Howren did the right thing by taking the high road. He knows his team will not improve by taking on the role of being a victim of Carson officiating. Coming ready to play, eliminating mistakes, and taking advantage of opportunities would have easily overcome what Carson or the Officials presented them.

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