Football is a game of inches. Especially in a rivalry game, every single one of them counts. It’s always tough losing on the final play in a hard-fought battle, but a high school team in Georgia saw their perfect season ruined by a controversial call.
As time expired in the fourth quarter, Hillgrove quarterback Matthew McCravy flushed out of the pocket and raced for the pylon. It was the final play of the game in Powder Springs with one last shot to take down top-ranked McEachern High School. From every angle, it looks like McCravy scored. Instead, it was called back.
For some odd reason, the officials didn’t think it was a touchdown. For some reason, they thought McCravy didn’t make it to the end zone. For some reason, the controversial decision cost Hillgrove High School a massive win as the team dropped its first game of the regular season.
Just take a look at both videos from High5Sports, and you can see why everyone was so upset.
Controversial Call Lifts McEachern Over Hillgrove
This is so bad. It should have been a game-winning touchdown that Friday night. And do you want to know the worst part? Neither varsity head coach received an explanation for the game-deciding call in the second half, according to mdjonline.com.
“This series, we’ve had all kinds of spectacular things. That’s a tough way to win or lose. It’s awesome for (McEachern), but somebody’s always on the other side. I said (to the team), we’ve got to handle this adversity, show class through it, and that’s the best I’ve got for them. We’re hurting — I get it — but you show more in adversity than you can show in a victory a lot of times.”
— Hillgrove Coach Phil Ironside
For the McEachern Indians, they escaped danger before playing Marietta the following week. For the Hillgrove Hawks, it was back to the drawing board to get ready for Kennesaw Mountain.
No game should end like this. It’s a shame a high school football player’s shining moment got stripped in such terrible fashion.
This article was originally published October 14, 2019. McEachern rolled to a 12-0 record before losing to Georgia 7A state quarterfinals to North Gwinnett. The Hillgrove Hawks finished the season with a 7-4 record, falling in their playoff opener to eventual state runner-up Lowndes.