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|Strange game indeed|
The line judge giveth and the head referee taketh away.
That was just part of one of the strangest football games that I have seen at Melz Field since, well, since the Ferriday-Lake Providence game two years ago.
Lake Providence upset Ferriday 24-21 in 2009 as sophomore quarterback Lamar Carraway passed to Jo Nathan Sanders on a 12-yard pass with two seconds remaining as the ball popped up in the air and then fell into Sanders breadbasket as he was laying on the ground in the end zone.
Friday night, there were strange calls, two circus touchdown catches by Ferriday freshman Adrian Wiggins, six interceptions, and a wild finish.
As for the strange calls, Ferriday faced second and nine from its 21-yard line in the second quarter when Ferriday's Jarvis Brooks ran to the left and grabbed the defender's face mask while the defender grabbed his. With Lake Providence players chiding their teammate, the side official call fasemask on Brooks.
Just before the half, Ferriday used some razzle dazzle as Brooks passed to quarterback Richard Jefferson for a 28-yard pass play to the Lake Providence 18-yard line with two seconds remaining.
Jefferson then threw the ball up to Wiggins, who came back for the ball, appeared to trap it, but turned and ran two yards into the end zone.
Officials ruled the pass incomplete, although there was no immediate signal, leading Oliver to chasing the head referee down at halftime.
With no time outs remaining, Jefferson ran to the 1-yard line. Jefferson then kept the ball up the middle and the line judge ruled touchdown.
But while Oliver was talking with his extra-point team, the head referee patted his hand on the 1-yard line, saying Jefferson's knee hit. By the time the Trojans became aware, the clock began moving. Unsure of what to do, the players looked around as Oliver was waving them to run a play. By the time they got lined up, one second remained and the clock ran out.
The official should have blown his whistle or made the change in his call known directly to both coaches before proceeding.
But it still doesn't take away from a great contest.
Lake Providence coach Sonny Nason, who has done an amazing job turning the Lake Providence program around in just a few short years, said Friday's game is a good example of what can happen in high school football.
"We beat Homer and I think the kids were thinking since Homer beat Ferriday it would follow that we would beat Ferriday," Nason said. "But it doesn't work like that, especially when you are dealing with 15-to-17-year olds. We were at full strength against Homer and that was our best game of the year."
Lake Providence has to win out and hope Sterlington or Lakeside upsets Ferriday to win district.
But more importantly, the Panther coach would love to see this year's 4-4 team become the first Lake Providence team to have a non-losing record since 1984.
"You try not to put too much pressure on your kids, but they hear everybody in the community talking about that," he said. "Right now we'd like to win our last two games and make sure we get into the playoffs. That would be a big accomplishment for us. And then we can go from there."
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