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High school football: Court rules in favor of Plainfield North

Alex Ortiz | 11/23/2016, 12:41 p.m.
Judge Kathleen Kennedy of the Circuit Court of Chicago upheld the result of last Saturday’s Class 7A semifinal game in ...

Judge Kathleen Kennedy of the Circuit Court of Chicago upheld the result of last Saturday’s Class 7A semifinal game in which Plainfield North beat Fenwick 18-17 in overtime following a mistakenly awarded untimed down at the end of regulation in which Plainfield North kicked a game-tying field goal. Plainfield North will go on to play East St. Louis in the championship game this coming Saturday.

The IHSA released a statement on the ruling:

“Today’s decision by the Honorable Kathleen G. Kennedy in the Circuit Court of Chicago to uphold the result of the IHSA Class 7A Semifinal Football game is not a victory. There is no celebration and there are no winners in this circumstance. It is simply a resolution.

The Fenwick High School community has been dealt a pair of devastating blows over the past few days, while Plainfield North had a historic moment shrouded in controversy simply for following the rules provided for them, first by the game officials, and then by the IHSA.

We will move forward now, in the short-term with eight state championship football games at the University of Illinois this weekend. In the long-run, it is our job as an Association, Board of Directors and membership to look at our policies and rules to see if and how we might be able to prevent instances like this in the future.

We appreciate Judge Kennedy’s ruling from the perspective that we believe it is vital for membership organizations like the IHSA to be able to self-govern within the rules set by our member schools. Judge Kennedy recognized the historic precedent that would have resulted if she had overturned the outcome of the game based on an officiating error. This is the same pitfall our membership foresaw in originally approving the by-law, and that our Board of Directors recognized in their decision not to consider an appeal.”

The Plainfield school district also released a statement:

“We reiterate our empathy for our friends from Fenwick High School and their supporters, however we appreciate the Court’s decision and will continue to prepare to play in the state championship Saturday afternoon. We will do our best to be worthy of the opportunity and will represent District 202 proudly.

As a voluntary member of the IHSA, Plainfield North High School abides by the directives, rules, and by-laws set forth.  However there are processes in place for IHSA member schools to change IHSA governing by-laws to address circumstances such as these if members wish to do so.”

The Class 7A championship game is set for Saturday Nov. 26 at 4 p.m. at Memorial Stadium in Champaign on the campus of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign between Plainfield North (11-2) and East St. Louis (13-0).