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Oklahoma judge says disputed football game won't be replayed

By CLIFF BRUNT

AP Sports Writer OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - A contested high school football playoff game between an Oklahoma City powerhouse and a team from a 1,400-resident town won't be replayed, a judge decided Thursday.

"There is neither statute nor case law allowing this court discretion to order the replay of a high school football game," Judge Bernard Jones said in an order regarding a state 3A quarterfinal between Douglass and Locust Grove, which Locust Grove won 20-19.

"Courts not ought meddle in these activities or others, especially when the parties have agreed to be bound by and have availed themselves to the governance of these activities' associations," he added.

The Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association said the 3A semifinal between Locust Grove and Heritage Hall will be played on Friday night, and that a full statement on the judge's order would come later Thursday.

Douglass High School referred all questions to Oklahoma City Public Schools, which didn't immediately return a request for comment. Neither Locust Grove's coach nor athletic director was immediately available for comment.

During the Douglass-Locust Grove game on Nov. 28, an improperly enforced penalty erased a touchdown that would have put Douglass ahead with 64 seconds left. The penalty should have been enforced on the extra point or the kickoff instead of wiping out the long touchdown pass and marking off the penalty yardage from the previous spot.

Locust Grove held on for the win. The Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association punished the officials involved, calling the error "inexcusable at this level."

Douglass appealed the OSSAA to have either the final 64 seconds or the entire game replayed. The association's staff declined both options in the appeal, and its board rejected the replay options in a special meeting, prompting Douglass to go to court.

During Wednesday's arguments, Douglass' attorneys said Jones should rule in its favor without worrying about the possible ripple effects. The OSSAA countered by saying even though the situation is unfortunate, the appeals process already had taken place.

In the end, the judge said the OSSAA had the discretion to turn down Douglass' appeal.

"While mindful of the frustrations of the young athletes who feel deprived by the inaction of (OSSAA), it borders on the unreasonable ... to think this court more equipped or better qualified than (OSSAA) to decide the outcome of any portion of a high school football game," Jones wrote.

The other semifinal was played as scheduled Dec. 5.

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