BY JEFF FALK
MECHANICSBURG – There is a difference between right and wrong.
There is a difference between fair and unfair.
There is a difference between losing something and having it taken away from you.
One could never have imagined something like this happening, especially in the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association postseason. And if the response is ‘that’s the rule’, then the rule must be changed.
On a moist Tuesday night at Mechanicsburg’s Memorial Stadium, the Palmyra boys’ lacrosse team’s spectacular season was shockingly ended by one of the most controversial decisions in the history of Lebanon County scholastic sports. The Cougars were declared losers when their opening round game of the PIAA Class AAA playoffs with Mount Lebanon was suspended by lightning and then not resumed.
At the time of the inclement weather, 9:02 showed on the fourth-quarter clock and Palmyra trailed Mount Lebanon 10-9. After the teams were escorted to their respective locker rooms, game officials waited an hour for the thunderstorm to pass, before declaring the contest official and Mount Lebanon the winner.
The game was called at 9:50 p.m.
The decision was met first with disbelief and anger by members of the Palmyra coaching staff and players, then sadness and grief. Up until last night, the Cougars had put together one of the most successful boys’ lacrosse seasons in the history of Lebanon County athletics.
Palmyra head coach Dave Ondrusek promised to appeal the decision to the PIAA.
“We lost,” said Ondrusek, with a blank stare. “It was a decision made by the referees. The thinking was we would be able to start the game again. But by rule, they can call the game at the end of three quarters.
“You would think it has to be a complete game,” continued Ondrusek. “But they’re saying it can end. There is some discrepency. We’re going to make our appeal.”
As it stands now, the outcome ended District Three champion Palmyra’s campaign at 20-3. During the season, the Cougars also captured Keystone Division and Mid-Penn Conference championships.
The season-ending result ended Palmyra’s 13-game win streak.