On Wednesday morning, Cook County Circuit Court Judge Kathleen Kennedy ruled to uphold the result of an 18-17 overtime win for Plainfield North over Fenwick in the Class 7A state semifinals last weekend, dashing the Friars’ hopes for a state finals bid.
Whether it was the packed courthouse filled with Fenwick parents, alumni and supporters or the football players who gathered at linebacker Brett Moorman’s house for breakfast, disbelief, sadness and anger summed up their feelings about the decision.
Shortly after Kennedy’s ruling, Fenwick issued the following press release.
“Fenwick High School is disheartened by the court’s decision to not recall the IHSA ruling regarding the outcome of last Saturday’s class 7A state semi-final game vs. Plainfield North High School,” said Fenwick Principal Peter Groom.
“Our student athletes fought hard all season to win, and we did our best to continue their just fight. We wish Plainfield North High School good luck as they compete against East St. Louis High School in Champaign on Saturday. We applaud the Plainfield North athletes and coaches for a well-played semifinal game, and we thank them for their continued sportsmanship and understanding during this difficult week for everyone involved.”
Even though the Friars won the game, which has been acknowledged by all parties involved in this controversial issue, Plainfield North moves on to face East St. Louis in the 7A state final at Memorial Stadium on the campus of the University of Illinois in Champaign.
During the Fenwick-Plainfield North 7A state semifinal game, the officials made the wrong call by awarding Plainfield North an untimed play after Fenwick’s quarterback grounded the ball on the game’s final play.
Fenwick should have won 10-7 in regulation, but the officials calling an intentional-grounding penalty on Fenwick. Plainfield North tied the score with a field goal from the Fenwick 5-yard line to force overtime and went on to win 18-17.
The officials failed to realize a game can end on an offensive penalty; it can’t end on a defensive penalty. The officials’ incorrect ruling shouldn’t have even been allowed since the game was over after the clock ran out.
After several Fenwick players, parents and fans pointed out the officials’ error, the Illinois High School Association quickly released a statement apologizing to Fenwick later Saturday night, but also said that “IHSA by-law 6.033 clearly states that ‘the decisions of game officials shall be final; protests against the decision of a game official shall not be reviewed by the Board of Directors.’ Given that rule, the contest result shall remain final with Plainfield North advancing to the Class 7A State Championship.”%u200B
Fenwick submitted an appeal to the IHSA Board. The IHSA Board convened on Monday morning and determined it would not hear the appeal.
Wednesday’s decision in court officially ended the Friars’ season and any hopes of a reversal about the 7A semifinal result.
Despite the ending to their season, the Friars finished 11-2, appeared in the state semifinals for just the third time in program history, and won the Chicago Catholic League Green Division championship. They also defeated reigning state champs Phillips and Montini during an 8-1 regular season campaign.
Offensively, All-State players quarterback Jacob Keller and wide receiver Mike O’Laughlin, along with running back Conner Lillig and wide reciever Sherman Martin, provided plenty of scoring.
The defense received key contributions from seniors Brett Moorman, Marty Stein, Ellis Taylor, Ryan Chapman, Adrian Nourse and the Blakeney brothers- Lorenzano and Lorente, among others.