How much is enough where high school competition is concerned?
It was seven overtimes and 4 1/2 hours for Ohio High School Athletic Association administrators, who declared Sylvania Northview and Cleveland St. Ignatius the state’s co-champions and ended their game in a 1-1 tie because there is no shootout provision.
“This is an opportunity to show that wins and losses, even in a state championship game, are not more important than player safety,” the OHSAA said in a statement. “Had a player been seriously injured in the eighth overtime due to fatigue, the decision to allow the game to continue would have been seriously questioned more than the decision to end it.”
There was little disagreement over the decision, with players struggling to stay hydrated. From the Cleveland Plain Dealer:
Coach Pat O’Rourke of St. Ignatius and coach Mike Jones of Northview both said they ultimately agree with the decision, although they seriously considered trying to play one or two more overtime periods prior to the final decision.
When asked if he thought the game should have gone to a shootout, O’Rourke said he’d rather play 1,000 overtimes than see it come down to a shootout. Per a national rule, the game could not have been decided by shootout anyway.
“I hate shootouts. It’s a team sport,” he said. “I know my boys would have kept playing. I know their boys would have kept playing too but, at some point, the adults have to step in.”
The Plain Dealer reports that this isn’t the first time this has happened. In 2008, the Michigan High School Athletic Association called a tie in the Division 1 final after eight overtimes between Marquette and Orchard Lake St. Mary’s.