I spent more time over the weekend thinking about the last play from Friday night's 42-35 Gulfport win at George County than I care to admit.
As of this writing the video of "the call" has had more than 11,000 views, so I reckon I'm not alone. Between Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other social media platforms just about every possible outcome of the play has been voiced.
To be honest, I'm still not sure what the correct call should have been -- the only thing I'm positive of is I'm glad I'm not a referee. Watching Dwan Williams come down with the LaRaymond Spivery pass live, I thought for sure it was a game-tying touchdown. Even re-watching the video I lean that way. Either way, I don't know how the initial TD call is overturned. It's a shame, to me, that a game that was terribly entertaining with touchdowns and big plays throughout by both 4-6A teams will be remembered because of a call rather than a play or the entirety of the contest.
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Post-game, Williams defended his touchdown.
"I was supposed to run a post, but the quarterback switched it up so I just ran a vertical because he believed in me that I could go up there and get it," Williams said. "I told him to just throw it up and I'd go up and get it for him. He threw it up, and I just went up and got it. But, I guess the refs said I didn't."
Keeth Prince, who was credited with the interception, posted his version of the play on the YouTube page Sunday: "What this video does not show is that it was fourth down. Speaking hypothetically had he caught the ball it would have been first and goal with 2 seconds left, this being because the ball never crossed the line. They wouldn't have had time to line up and run another play anyways because he was running around. Furthermore, they ruled in my favor because the ref that called it an interception was directly in front of me, that being said he did jump up over me and grab the ball, it was a great grab, however, he came down on top of me and if you look at 0:12 he set the ball in my left arm the arm off camera. My arm was shaped in an acute angel and cradled the ball so when he let go of it, still being on my back, he wasn't down and basically fumbled the ball into my arm, i didn't pick the ball up off the ground or it wouldn't be in my hand the way it is positioned. After everything said all i know is that it wasn't a touchdown. But what do I know, my opinion is biased based on it being me, a proud Gulfport Admiral."
4. Getting a pro opinion
Even Fox Sports rules analyst and former NFL referee Mike Pereira joined the conversation.
St. Martin supporter Heath Sideaway tweeted a link to Pereira. Here's his thoughts on the play:
"Need more looks but from what I see it should either be an interception or incomplete pass. 15 did not complete a catch."
After all of that I think we can agree that none of us agree. So, there's that.
5. Petition MHSAA
GCHS coach John Douglass said Tuesday the team has petitioned the MHSAA but he doesn't expect anything to come of it officially.
He's hopeful that at the very least the blow can be a galvanizing experience for a talented Rebels team that has plenty of football left to play.
"Hopefully they'll realize what can happen if you don't take care of business," he said. "I thought there was a time in the second half where we had them and left them off the hook.
"Obviously we want to win every game, but when something like this happens I think they're the best teaching moments."
6. Hold onto the ball
One thing I would say is, if Williams put the ball down to celebrate, which is what I thought happened live it will serve as a good -- albeit tough -- lesson. We see football players do it at all levels from high school to college and even the NFL. The player gets caught up in the moment and rather than handing the ball to the referee or taking it back to the sideline, they put the ball down too quickly. Utah's Kaelin Clay did it against Oregon last year. DeSean Jackson did something similar in 2008. It happens.
7. Inconsistent Warriors
I don't think it's any stretch to say D'Iberville has been the most inconsistent team on the Coast through seven weeks.
The Warriors played a difficult non-region schedule that was supposed to prepare the team for Region 4-6A. Two games in and the Warriors are 1-1. After beating Biloxi by 18, the Warriors, which have scored consistently this season, were blanked by Ocean Springs.
Seeing as how the Warriors have rotated wins and losses all season, this should be a week where they're "on." Only catch is they'll be playing a talented and motivated George County team.
Friday at Buddy Singleton Field won't be one to miss.
8. Sleeping Giant
A team to watch moving forward will be Harrison Central. The Red Rebels (3-4) got off to a rough start under first-year coach Casey Cain, but they've since won three of their last four games and are now 2-0 in 4-6A.
HCHS has always come across as a bit of a sleeping giant. The school has always had numbers and athletes, but it's come down to getting all the moving parts to come together as a cohesive unit. It seems they're starting to do just that.
During the pre-season Cain praised QB Tavis Williams as one of the Coast's better athletes potentially. The team has transitioned from a heavy spread to playing more under center and Williams has responded. As the season has progressed, Williams has passed less and run more, which has translated to wins for HCHS. It seems as goes Williams so goes the Runnin' Red Rebels.
Friday will be the best test as they travel to St. Martin. I'm not confident they can slow the Yellow Jackets offense like Gulfport did, but with a 2-0 head start in region play, HCHS is set up well moving forward.
9. The (Other) Patrick's Picks
For entertainment purposes -- at my expense -- only ... Nick Saban is mad. Reports of his demise were clearly premature and I expect Tide to fully embody a scorched Earth policy moving forward, including Saturday against Arkansas (-16 1/2, according to MGM Resorts International). Tide big ... Mississippi State (-30 1/2) should win big against Troy, but by more than 30 points? I'm inclined to take Troy, although I think MSU wins by 28 ... Likewise, Ole Miss is a -42 1/2-point favorite over visiting New Mexico State. While that's a lot of points, the Aggies are downright terrible, and we've seen how Ole Miss has handled bad teams ... Florida (-5 1/2) looks like a legit competitor for the SEC East crown. I don't expect a letdown this week at Mizzou ... Rain or shine, LSU (-13) will put it on South Carolina, regardless of location. The Bayou Bengals can name their score.
Patrick Ochs, a Sun Herald sports reporter can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or followed on Twitter at PatrickOchs.