Falcon football season ends on mix-up at one-yard line

"Score by quartersSOUTH WHIDBEY 0 6 13 0SULTAN - 8 0 0 14Total yards: South Whidbey 372 (331 rushing), Sultan 246 (103 rushing).South Whidbey’s chance of ending its 1999 football season on a winning note ended in mass confusion at Waterman Field Thursday night.With the situation 4th and 1 inside the Turk one-yard-line with seconds to play, Falcon quarterback Brian Moote spiked the ball into the turf, effectively ending the game. But it wasn’t the senior signal caller’s fault -- he was just following orders.Head coach Mick Heggenes was still shaken as he recalled the confusion Friday morning. He thought the Falcons had earned a first down the play before, and since his team was out of time outs, he ordered Moote to ground the ball to stop the clock. Unfortunately, the referees hadn’t signaled a first down.Heggenes said he and the other coaches realized the mistake before the final play began, but yell as the might, they couldn’t get their players’ attention. They were far away near the goal line, most backs were turned to the coaches, and everyone in the stadium was yelling. He likened the situation to someone watching his own execution taking place.“It was my fault,” Heggenes said. “He (Moote) did exactly what I told him to do. I feel so terrible for the kids. They played their hearts out and overcame a lot of adversity.”The Falcons won their first two games of the year before losing six in a row, while Sultan entered the contest winless after eight games. Their coach, former Falcon assistant Rick Rudd, at least went home happy.South Whidbey was dominating on the ground, but a season-long problem with penalties and turnovers continued during the final game. Still, at the end of three quarters they enjoyed a 19-8 lead. Sultan scored twice on fourth quarter passes of 27 and 44 yards to win.Sultan jumped out to an 8-0 lead but South Whidbey scored the next three TD’s. Ben McQueen ran in from four yards out, Matt Steiner scored on a five yard run, and Colin Murphy scored on a six yard run. While Charlie Bass didn’t score, he led all ballcarriers with 168 yards on 17 carries, and one pass reception for 12 yards. “He played a whale of a game,” said Heggenes.But all the good things that happened were negated by the infamous first down that wasn’t. Heggenes said South Whidbey may ask the officials’ association to review the game film, but nothing will change the outcome even if a first down should have been called. “My assumption we had the first down was wrong,” he said.South Whidbey ended its return to Class AA competition with a disappointing 2-7 season record, but Heggenes is hopeful things will improve. This year’s JV team finished 6-1 and won the league championship Monday with a 32-19 win over Nooksack Valley.“Our turn is coming,” Heggenes said."

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