Friday evening, November 22nd, in Leander Texas, a very good Mason Puncher football team lost a heartbreaker, 14 to 13, to an equally good team from Shiner. The game was played in conditions that could only be described as miserable. The first half was played in intermittent driving rain and the temperature was just above freezing throughout. Despite this, both teams played with heart; there was no quit from either side on the field that night.
Mistakes were made on both sides of the ball but given the conditions I was surprised there weren’t more of them. Shiner scored last and their two point conversion after the touchdown won the game for them. The play that set up the score was a pass thrown by the Shiner quarterback who was flushed out of the pocket and threw on the run. He was being chased by our #77, Kyle Zavala. Kyle is one of the best high school linemen I have had the pleasure to watch and usually sacks the opposing quarterback several times each game.
The reason he was unable to get to the opposing quarterback this time was that #79 on the Shiner team had hooked Kyle’s arm and was holding on for dear life. There was an official close by but no flag was thrown for this blatant infraction. Kyle’s protest fell on deaf ears. I noticed that this official was one of the referees that called our game at the Puncherdome against Brackett on November 1st.
That was a game where the Punchers were called for frequent penalties, most of which I never saw. What I did see were multiple infractions by Brackett players that were overlooked by the referees. On one occasion one of our linemen was actually tackled by his opponent. The referee was close by but no flag was thrown. I have been a football fan for more than 60 years and the officiating at the Brackett game on November 1st was the worst I have ever witnessed. Despite the biased officiating the Punchers crushed Brackett.
Not so against an opponent that is roughly our equal. I wonder if the final score would have been the same if a holding penalty had been called on Shiner’s #79. I think it’s a shame that the outcome of such a hard fought game may have been decided not by the players but by the referees.