FORT WAYNE — In the wake of a controversial 13-10 overtime loss at Leo on Friday night, Heritage has petitioned the IHSAA to overturn the outcome, Patriots coach Dean Lehrman said Saturday night.
“We filed a protest and we did that for the kids,” Lehrman said. “We worked incredibly hard to get to that point. To win the game (against the No. 2 team in Class 3A) and have it go down the way it did, the kids’ hearts were ripped from their chests. We, as a staff, are doing this for the kids.”
The Patriots had a 10-7 lead and tackled Leo quarterback Sam Waters in the waning seconds. The Lions rushed to snap the ball before time expired, prompting penalty flags to be thrown.
While Leo coach Jared Sauder said Friday night he was told there was at least one penalty on Heritage “for delay of game,” Lehrman said the flags were only on Leo for snapping the ball before it was spotted. The Lions also appeared to have too many men on the field, Lehrman said.
The Patriots (4-2) contend the game should have ended right then, but Lehrman said the officials told him another play had to be run.
“I was told that I could accept the penalty, they would mark off 5 yards and the clock would not start until the ball was snapped, guaranteeing them a field-goal kick,” Lehrman said. “Or, I could decline the penalty, which I did, which was really my only choice, and they would start the clock with one second on it, as soon as the ball was spotted.”
Leo (5-0) was ready to run a play before the ball was spotted and it got a game-tying 35-yard field goal from Zach Ferran, who converted a 33-yard game-winner in overtime.
“If they feel strongly it was the wrong call, they have the right (to appeal),” Sauder said. “Like I said (Friday) night, it was a hard-fought game by both teams.”
Staff writer LaMond Pope contributed to this story.