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Broward County apologizes to Cocoa football for 'egregious clock management errors'

County acknowledges that poor officiating in the final two minutes cost the Tigers a victory against St. Thomas Aquinas
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COCOA, FLORIDA — It may not have been the victory they wanted but the Cocoa Tigers received acknowledgment from someone that they should have won last Friday’s game against host St. Thomas Aquinas in Fort Lauderdale.

In the wake of Cocoa losing to Aquinas, 37-36, after multiple concerns over clock management in the final minutes, Cocoa High athletic director Mark Carstens announced on Wednesday that he received an apology from the Broward County Officials Association.

Cocoa had filed an appeal with the FHSAA on Monday, requesting that the outcome be reversed. But FHSAA Director of Athletics Robbie Lindeman ruled that the game is final per Bylaw 4.2.1, according to a report in Florida Today.

The Bylaw reads "The outcome (i.e., winners and losers) of all interscholastic contests are final, and cannot be reversed, except where the rules of the sport permit or in the case where a winner must forfeit its victory or points.” The appeal was brought forth after several officiating decisions in the closing minutes of the contest allowed Aquinas to regain possession and move inside the Cocoa 5-yard line to kick a game-winning field goal.

“I received a phone call from Jeff Pratt, the head of the Broward County Officials Association,” Carstens said. “Mr. Pratt apologized to both (myself) and (Cocoa) Coach (Ryan) Schneider for ‘the egregious clock management errors as outlined in the appeal.’ He also added that there were 12 men on the field during the 4th-down punt.

“He acknowledged that ‘in both instances, this would have resulted in Cocoa winning the game,’” Carstens said. “The Broward County Officials Association’s Executive Board are handling the punishment of the entire 9-person crew internally.”