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Controversy surrounds Wyoming playoff game’s final minute

A semi-final high school football game in Wyoming has some people concerned and upset over the outcome.

It was in Torrington, on the night of November 2nd, when the Jackson Broncs were defeated and eliminated from the playoffs by the Blazers.

Many on the Broncs would have accepted a hard-fought loss if it was a fair one, according to Jackson senior Ted McDaniel. Now many in the Jackson community are arguing the games deciding plays and the clock management set them up unfairly favored Torrington, he said.

McDaniel said he started noticing that the timing was off as Torrington was marching down the field on what would turn out to be the game-winning drive.

“They weren’t starting the clock as soon as the play started and they were ending it prematurely,” McDaniel explained.

The Blazers managed to run six plays in the game’s final 10 seconds without going out of bounds or calling a single timeout, according to eyewitness accounts.

“There’s no way you can run six plays in 10 seconds,” McDaniel said.

Those in the crowd said on some plays the clock only moved a fraction of a second. On some plays, it didn’t move at all.

Melissa Jordan was among them. She said that while the Torrington team might not have been in on it, she believes that the timekeeper and officials were going to make sure The Blazers had a chance to win.

Jordan said that those in the crowd were in disbelief, watching as several plays were run in what only registered as a matter of seconds.

To make matters worse, members of the Jackson community argue that there was a fumble recovery previous to Torrington’s touchdown that was called dead.

Ted McDaniel was on the field during the play and said that the ball clearly came out before the runner was down and that as soon as Jackson’s Kirby Castagno picked up it and started running it was blown dead.

The Blazers would go on to score a touchdown and tack on the two-point conversion, winning by one point as the officials ran off the field.

But the officiating board knows a severe mistake was made. According to Devin Nixon, “the WHSSA…they have been in contact with our people saying that they know this is wrong, but there’s nothing they can do to overturn the results now.”

Now the loss will sit with the players forever. McDaniel said he’ll never forget his final game of football.

“It was defiantly a hard fought game on both sides,” McDaniel said. “Had they won fair and square, I wouldn’t have a problem, nor would my team have a problem with the outcome. But because of what happened, there’s some tension because it wasn’t fair at the end.”

No one stepped in to stop the action, but according to Team Manager Mia Fishman, everyone wanted to.

Fishman said that the Blazers shouldn’t be blamed for this, as it’s an issue of officiating and timekeeping.

While it has been said that the game’s ruling cannot be overturned, the Jackson community doesn’t appear to have any desire to stop fighting for it.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated for clarification.

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