Lackey 21, Friendly 19
What do you think when you see no time left on the clock, your team with more points than the opponent's and officials still saying the game is not over?
"It is very frustrating," Lackey senior lineman J.B. Walton said. "When [the referee] put the ball up over his head, you think it's over."
Walton and the Chargers learned Friday that victory is in the eye of referee -- and only the referee. Lackey's 21-19 victory at Friendly in a Maryland 3A South semifinal game ended in such a bizarre way that nobody knew when it actually ended.
Lackey stopped Friendly's Vincent Hill, who caught a five-yard pass from Joe Haden, at the 1-yard line, and the clock appeared to run out before the officials set the ball and Friendly could snap it.
But the completion gave Friendly a first down, which should have stopped the clock for the officials to set the ball. It didn't, costing the Patriots a few seconds.
Officials met with Lackey Coach Scott Chadwick and Friendly's George Earley at midfield and explained the predicament. Friendly would get one more play.
"Nobody even signaled for the clock to stop," Chadwick said. "I don't understand how the game ended, and you change the way a game ends."
It wasn't the first time that there was a complaint about the clock in the fourth quarter. In three instances, the Lackey sideline motioned to officials when a play was running, but the clock was still.
"I knew the clock wasn't right," Lackey linebacker Clyde Jones said, "so all we had to do was step up and make plays."
Friendly had the ball at the Lackey 1. The Patriots were allowed a final play. In the frenzy to line up, Lackey was called for an illegal participation penalty, which moved the ball to within a foot of the goal line. The Chargers did not have to think long about what Friendly was going to do.
Haden, the Patriots' quarterback, who had rushed for two touchdowns in the game and was plenty quick on his feet, was going to sneak the ball in.
"I knew before the play even started where he was going," Jones said. "I saw him leaning forward. I told [defensive lineman] Bryan Yates, 'You hit the center and the bottom, and I'll hit him up top.' "
And that's where defensive end Courtney Jackson came in. He was in the middle of the pile that slammed into Haden. In the collision, Jackson wrestled the ball loose, and that was the end of the game.
"I felt around at the bottom of the pile and just grabbed it," Jackson said. "It was scary. I don't know how we did it, but we stopped him."