Suspended Anacostia-Carroll game to be completed

September 13, 2012

The rain-suspended football game between Anacostia and Carroll will be completed Oct. 8, a conclusion reached only after D.C. Statewide Athletic Director Clark Ray interceded and brokered a compromise. This marks the first time Ray has had to force the resolution of a conflict between a public and private school since the creation of the newly formed D.C. Statewide Athletic Association.

On Sept. 8, referees postponed the Anacostia-Carroll game due to inclement weather with 9 minutes, 22 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter and Carroll leading, 16-0. Play never resumed that day, and both teams departed without a clear understanding of how the situation would be resolved.

In the days that followed, officials from both schools and conferences disagreed over how the game should be recorded. Carroll, a private school which competes in the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference, wanted the score to be made final, giving the Lions the win. Anacostia, a public school in the D.C. Interscholastic Athletic Association, wanted the opportunity to finish the game or have the result declared a no contest.

Ray got involved Monday afternoon, and the parties finally reached a resolution Thursday morning. The game will be completed Oct. 8 at 11 a.m. at Carroll, which hosted the original game. Carroll will pay roughly $600 to hire a new officiating crew, and Anacostia will pay for its own transportation.

“I think the situation was resolved amicably and in the way that made the most sense,” Anacostia Athletic Director Walter Bond said. “I just want to play the game out so we can have an accurate final outcome. I’m glad that’s what we’re going to have an opportunity to do.”

Because the schools play in different leagues and are affiliated with the DCSAA to different extents, each institution’s motives were vastly different from the outset. The DCSAA sanctioned Carroll in August after the school agreed to abide by the organization’s standards of competition.

However, the Lions – like the two other D.C.-based WCAC members, Gonzaga and St. John’s – were directed by the WCAC not to participate in the inaugural DCSAA football playoffs. And since advancement to the WCAC title game is contingent solely upon conference record, Carroll had little investment in the final score.

Anacostia, meantime, had reason to want to play out the final minutes against Carroll. The top four teams in the DCIAA are eligible to compete for the DCSAA Class AA crown, and the rest of the DCIAA teams that have at least a .500 record through the first eight games of their season are eligible for the DCSAA Class A playoffs. Anacostia finished last season 0-8, but defeated Cesar Chavez, 52-0, in its 2012 season opener.

Playing the final minutes against Carroll might not alter the final outcome – Anacostia will begin play at its own two-yard line – but it at least affords the Indians such an opportunity.

“I mean, we were down 16-0 with nine minutes to go,” first-year Anacostia Coach Cato June said. “Anything can happen in football with nine minutes left in a game. It’s not like we were down 30 or 40 to nothing.”

After the worst of the thunderstorms passed Saturday, the head referee, in consultation with school officials from the home team, determined Carroll’s grass field was unplayable. June informed the referee that his team did not want to take a loss if the game was not completed, but both teams left the field without a clear understanding of how the situation would be resolved.

“For 38 minutes, they scored no points, and the score was 16-0,” Carroll Athletic Director George Leftwich said Monday. “To call the kids out, we’ve got a game on Saturday up in Philadelphia, they weren’t ready to play today. Maybe if they’d agreed on something on Saturday and everybody was ready to play today, we could have played” Monday.

Around 10 a.m. Monday, Leftwich left a voice message on Bond’s work phone. The message later was replayed for a Post reporter. In the message, Leftwich said in part: “Nobody’s in agreement that we should play this game. There’s too much involved. We’ll make it a no contest. That’s fine with us.”

By late Monday afternoon, Leftwich had changed his mind. It was at that point that Ray got involved. On Wednesday, Ray sent a memo – a copy of which was obtained by The Post – to officials from both schools and conferences in which he mandated that “the contest needs to be completed prior to November 7, 2012, unless the team officials agree to terminate the game.

“If either of the teams refuses to complete the game under the scenario listed above, DCSAA will award a forfeit victory to the team that was willing to play.”

Leftwich said Wednesday evening that he had no preference on whether to play the rest of the game or take the forfeit and that the final decision would be left to WCAC Commissioner Jim Leary. Leary said he was happy a resolution was reached.

Anacostia declared Wednesday its intention to play the remainder of the game. And faced with the alternative of forfeiting a game in which it was ahead at the time of play stoppage, Carroll followed suit Thursday morning.

“For the [DCSAA], we were sort of an intermediary,” Ray said Thursday. “What I did, through consultation with a state rules interpreter and through consultation with the national federation was make sure that I had the right rules and interpretations of the rules, and I put it on a piece of paper. I give credit to the administrations at Carroll and Anacostia for agreeing to come to the table.”

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