Episcopal Academy’s perfect season was ruined by Germantown Academy’s perfect play.
There was just one problem.
The Patriots’ daring, two-point conversion – their own expertly-executed version of the Eagles’ famous Philly Special – that produced a 56-55 overtime victory in another wild Inter-Ac League game on Saturday appeared to be an illegal play.
“It was very clear,” Episcopal Academy coach Todd Fairlie said on Sunday. “It was obvious. There’s no doubt.”
Fairlie said Germantown Academy should have been penalized for throwing two forward passes on the same play. Under National Federation of State High School Association rules, the penalty for two forward passes on the same play is five yards and loss of down.
In this case, that would have meant the end of the game, with Episcopal Academy emerging with a 55-54 victory.
Video of the play by the Delaware County Daily Times’ Matt Smith shows GA quarterback Jordan Longino taking the snap in a shotgun formation. He appears to toss the ball forward to wide receiver Jerry Griffen-Batchler, who was crossing in motion.
Griffen-Batchler laterals to running back Lacey Snowden, who then completes a pass to a wide-open Longino in the end zone, setting off a wild celebration by the Patriots.
“It’s a simple rule,” Fairlie said of the restriction against more than one forward pass on a down.
GA coach Matt Dence declined to comment on the legality of the play.
"That’s not for me to decide,” Dence said. "It’s not my job to make tough calls. It’s a tough job. The referees are human, just like Todd and I.
“I’m sure Todd and his staff made mistakes in that game. I can tell you 1,000 percent that me and my staff made mistakes.”
The controversial play capped a crazy game in which Episcopal Academy quarterback Maurcus McDaniel accounted for seven touchdowns, five on the ground.
Longino passed for 274 yards and four touchdowns.
“I’ve been coaching football for 22 years and if it wasn’t the best game I’ve ever been part of it was one of the top three,” Dence said. “It was just such a great high school football game, 8,000 plays, back and forth. It’s unfortunate anyone had to lose that game.”
The loss ended Episcopal Academy’s hopes for the program’s first undefeated season since 2012. The Churchmen, the No. 6 team in The Inquirer Top 10, are 8-1 overall and 3-1 in the Inter-Ac.
Germantown Academy improved to 6-2 overall and 2-2 in the league.
Fairlie said he approached the officials on the field after the game and was told that the play was legal. He said there was no conference among the game officials.
“We used to have five-man crews and now we have six man crews and all six missed it,” Fairlie said.
Fairlie said he was told by the referee assignor for the Inter-Ac League on Sunday that it was a “clear missed call.”
Fairlie told his players that incorrect calls are part of the game and the Churchmen played their part in the loss.
“The thing we’ve been adamant about from Day One is that we can only control what we can control,” Fairlie said. “There are a lot of things we can’t control and the refs are one of many . . .
“We allowed ourselves to be in that position. We didn’t control that part of it. We have to play better football. We have to coach better. We have to play better.”