Broward County Officials Association Issues Apology to Cocoa for Errors in Tiger’s 37-36 Loss to St. Thomas Aquinas
By Juan Rodriguez, Sports Editor // September 13, 2023
FHSAA officials noted Bylaw 4.2.1 as the reason for the denial
Then, a series of clock and referee errors gave the ball back to the Raiders, who kicked a late FG to escape with a win 😱
— SBLive Sports (@SBLiveSports) September 9, 2023
WATCH: The Friday night thriller between the Cocoa Tigers and St. Thomas Aquinas lived up to the hype and ended with controversy in the game’s final minutes. The Tigers had the ball back leading 36-34 with 1:28 left on the game clock and began celebrating what would’ve been an incredible win against a nationally-ranked opponent on the road.
WATCH BREVARD COUNTY FOOTBALL GAME REPLAYS BELOW
Cocoa Tigers Head Coach Ryan Schneider: It was officiating mistakes that led to the controversy. It was a great game between two great programs. We have nothing but respect for St. Thomas Aquinas Football.
Broward County Officials Association Official Jeff Pratt apologized for “egregious clock management errors.”
BREVARD COUNTY • COCOA, FLORIDA — Cocoa High Athletic Director Mark Carstens issued a statement that he received an apology from the Broward County Officials Association regarding the Tiger’s 37-36 loss to St. Thomas Aquinas last Friday.
Carstens said he received a phone call on Wedneday from Jeff Pratt, the head of the Broward County Officials Association, who apologized to both Coach Carstens and Coach Ryan Schneider for “the egregious clock management errors,” as outlined in the denied appeal Cocoa filed with the Florida High School Athletic Association on Monday.
Pratt said there “were 12 men on the field during the 4th down punt and acknowledged, “ In both instances, this would have resulted in Cocoa winning the game.”
According to Pratt, the Broward County Officials Association’s Executive Board is handling the punishment of the entire 9-person crew internally.
The Florida High School Athletic Association denied Cocoa High School’s appeal of its 37-36 loss at St. Thomas Aquinas, which claimed the game officials did not follow proper procedure in the final minutes of the game.
FHSAA officials noted Bylaw 4.2.1 as the reason for the denial. The bylaw states, the outcome 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.
“I see a lot of people saying St. Thomas Aquinas Football cheated us last night,” said Cocoa Tigers Head Coach Ryan Schneider via X.
“I know the STA coaches and they are men of integrity and faith. It was officiating mistakes that led to the controversy. It was a great game between two great programs. We have nothing but respect for St. Thomas Aquinas Football.”
The Tigers had the ball leading 36-34 with 1:28 left on the game clock and began celebrating what would have been an incredible win against a nationally-ranked opponent on the road.
After a few kneels, mismanaged penalties, and confusion regarding timeouts, Cocoa was put in a position to give the ball back to St. Thomas with 30 seconds left in the game.
A miraculous throw by Raiders quarterback Andrew Indorf put his team on the 2-yard line, eventually setting up the game-winning walk-off field goal to win the game 37-36.
The handling of the final minutes has raised many questions in regard to officiating and the timeouts St. Thomas called when the scoreboard showed the Raiders only had one timeout left.
The defending State Champion Cocoa Tigers led for most of the game with a dominating performance from both sides of the ball.
Enough can’t be said about what this offense has done to start the 2023 season. Sophomore quarterback Brady Hart, in just his third start at the helm for the Tigers, threw for 480 yards and five touchdowns on the road against a nationally-ranked opponent. Three-star wide receiver Jayvan Boggs tallied his seventh touchdown in just two games after scoring four on Friday.
Cocoa isn’t a team to embrace moral victories, but this is a game the Tigers can be proud of regardless. This group continues to perform at a very high level and will have a lot to build on from the St. Thomas matchup.
The Tigers (2-1) are set to host the Eau Gallie Commodores (3-0) on Friday.
PREP FOOTBALL WEEK 3 SCOREBOARD
■ Rockledge 59 at Viera 21 – Watch game replay below.
■ Celebration 0 at Titusville 49 – Watch game replay below.
■ Cypress Creek 48 at MCC 27– Watch game replay below.
■ Astronaut 0 at Merritt Island 54 – Watch game replay below.
■ Cocoa 36 at St. Thomas Aquinas 37
■ Centennial 0 at Heritage 23
■ Harmony 0 at Palm Bay 47
■ Taylor 6 at Cocoa Beach 36
■ Winter Haven 0 at Eau Gallie 35
■ Palm Beach Christian 6 at Holy Trinity 42
■ Ft. Pierce Central 41 at Bayside 7
■ Satellite 25 at Melbourne 8
■ Lake Howell 35 at Space Coast 0
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