The WIAA football title games could be remembered for some controversy, particularly in the Division 5 and Division 1 games.

The biggest plays came in D5, where a failed hook-and-ladder by Cedar Grove-Belgium was ruled a fumble with 1 minute to play, and Amherst was able to kick a game-winning field goal as time expired. The pass looked incomplete on replay, but it may have been confusing with the receiver looking to catch and immediately shuffle the ball backward to a teammate.

Here's a link to the Fox Sports Wisconsin highlights of the game, including the disputed play.

An official with whom I spoke agreed it should have been ruled incomplete. He said his personal rules of thumb are to avoid cheap fumbles, cheap safeties and cheap touchdowns. When it doubt, it's an incomplete pass and when in doubt, it's a forward pass and not a backwards pass.

That one is going to be remembered for a while. Without the fumble, the game very likely heads to overtime.

The same official did say, however, that what the officials did next was a good call. Amherst was scrambling in the final seconds with no timeouts left and moved the ball to the Cedar Grove-Belgium 5 yards line with roughly 15 seconds to play. Officials stopped the clock to measure, which allowed Amherst to get its field-goal unit onto the field for the game-winning kick. The Falcons did not appear to be in position to change personnel and appeared to be going for it on 4th and 1.

The official with whom I spoke said it's absolutely the right call to blow that play dead and measure the spot, because it impacts the approach from both the offense and the defense on the next play. He said even if there is confusion about whether a first-down has been called or not, the clock needs to be stopped to make sure everyone is on the same page.

In Division 1, Franklin threw what appeared to be a long touchdown after Kimberly had tied the game at 14-14 in the second half, but the play was called back because of an ineligible receiver downfield. Kimberly went on to win the game.

Rule 7-5-12 indicates why this is a penalty, and 2-27-2 covers the expanded neutral zone.

The neutral zone may be expanded following the snap up to a maximum of 2 yards behind the defensive line of scrimmage, in the field of play, during a scrimmage down. It appears the player in question (on the far right) does, in fact, breach that 2-yard window (line of scrimmage is the 22). Even if the player returns to within the 2-yard bubble before the pass is thrown, it's a penalty, assuming the pass is thrown across the line of scrimmage.

The official with whom I spoke, who did not officiate a game at state this year, felt strongly that this was called correctly on the field.

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