Pinkerton beat Manchester Central on Friday night 20-13, but one of the Astros touchdowns shouldn't have counted.
In the 2nd quarter Pinkerton junior Emmitt Smith returned a kickoff 100 yards for the touchdown. However this TD should NOT have counted. High school football rules state the following:
"Any kick crossing the goal line is automatically a touchback; kicks cannot be returned out of the end zone."
In both of these photos you can clearly Smith with possession of the football and with his feet in the end zone. The play should have been blown dead the second that ball crossed the goal line, resulting in a touchback and Pinkerton ball on their own 20. Instead the Astros score the TD and win by a one score margin.
That touchdown should not have counted. Would Pinkerton have still scored a TD on that drive if they had started out at the 20? Maybe. But maybe they wouldn't have. Afterall they would have had to drive 80 yards to do it. And there's so many things that could have prevented a Pinkerton TD there, such as penalties, incomplete passes or if Central just stepped it up on defense and stopped them. But on the other hand who know, maybe Smith, or Davies or one of the other backs would have ran it 80 yards for the score on 1st and 10. We will never know, and that's a shame.
Anytime you get a kickoff or punt returned for a TD it is a HUGE momentum boost for your team. If this one had been blown dead (like it should have) then who knows how that game turns out. Maybe Pinkerton still wins, maybe they don't. But what we know for sure is it should NOT have counted, and if it didn't then Central would have had a MUCH better shot at beating the #1 team in the state.
The NHIAA should look into this and make sure these kinds of calls aren't being missed anymore, especially with playoff games coming up where the stakes are so high.
Thank you to Sam Mills for bringing this to my attention, and for providing the images. Sam does photography for Manchester Central football.