Football Celebration Leads To Debate Over Rules

By Jordan Weinstein

Dec. 6, 2011

Listen to WGBH News' Dec. 6 interview with Cathedral High athletic director Jimmy Lynch.

BOSTON — It was his 18th birthday on game day — Saturday, Dec. 3 — and Cathedral High School quarterback Matthew Owen was running the ball toward the opposing team’s end zone in what would likely have been the game-winning touchdown.
But a flag was thrown, the touchdown was overturned and Cathedral went on to lose what might have been its first 4A State Super Bowl win ever. All because one referee thought that when quarterback Owen raised his left arm in celebration just before crossing into the end zone, he had violated new rules adopted by the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association banning any form of celebratory behavior.
It was a heartbreaking birthday gift for Owen, but it’s raised larger questions of whether the MIAA has gone too far. Cathedral High School athletic director Jimmy Lynch joined WGBH News’ Jordan Weinstein to talk about the call and the bigger questions.
Watch the disputed play:

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