High school football is all about the Friday night lights, and those lights were particularly bright in New Jersey when Vineland and Eastern faced off in a playoff game. But, oddly enough, the lights ended up not being focused on the players. Instead the spotlight focused mostly on the referees. On a fourth--and-7 that was a close call, the Eastern players did their best to convincingly act as if they had converted a first down.
Luckily for them, they had some support from the officiating crew. While the players did their best to sell the first down, it was the referee who took matters into his own hands on this drive.
From Fourth-and-7 to First and Whatever the Ref Wants
As you can see and hear, the ball from Eastern was questionably close to the first down. That was until the chains started moving. And somehow, in some sort of Halloween trick, so did the ball.
Video clearly shows that the referee appeared at first to just give the football a slight nudge with his foot. When that didn't work, he attempted a sleight-of-hand trick that made the ball appear to suddenly be located beyond the chains. It wasn't even a subtle move by the ref, as he picked the ball up and put it back down almost six inches farther than where it had been spotted.
"It looked like it was a half a yard short," the first announcer replied.
"It was, and it looked like our official pushed the ball a little bit forward and signaled it a first down," his partner answered.
Professional leagues, players and fans often complain about how much of an effect the referees can have on a game and its outcome. Luckily for Vineland, it got the treat and not the trick part of this Halloween weekend, as it would go on to beat Eastern 20-19.
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