By Miguel A. Melendez, Staff Writer
The San Gabriel Valley Football Officials Association will gather tonight in a special meeting in the aftermath of last week’s game between Temple City and Arcadia high schools which ended in a 28-28 tie because game officials refused to stay for an overtime period.
Temple City coach Anthony White and Arcadia’s Jon Dimalante met at midfield after regulation was over and agreed to play overtime. The players wanted it and so did the crowd, which had been treated to an exciting game.
Officials, however, informed both coaches they were not going to preside over the extra period. They then jogged off the field, much to the dismay of a disappointed crowd which booed the officiating crew.
“We don’t get paid overtime, so we’re not going to play overtime,” White said when asked what reason officials gave for not continuing the game. “Our kids are learning to fight through, and I guess we just have to take this one.
“I don’t know what to tell my team.”
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Dimalante said he doesn’t recall “overtime pay” being mentioned, but White said Monday one of the officials “definitely” made the comment.
“I know for a fact,” White said. “We kind of looked at them. I didn’t know if he was saying it seriously or as a joke.”
When asked which official made the comment, White said he thought it was the referee.
Dimalante clearly was disappointed with how officials handled the situation.
“They just told me it wasn’t a league game and we weren’t going to do overtime,” Dimalante said. “My thought was it doesn’t matter if it’s a league game or not. It would be good for our teams to do overtime and good for (the) crew to practice overtime. They just decided that they weren’t.
“Everyone wanted to see an overtime. I don’t know why they didn’t.”
For a brief moment, both coaches thought about playing the overtime period without officials.
“In the end they said, `If you guys want to play, go ahead and play. We’re leaving,’ ” Dimalante said. “And that’s when they ran off. I didn’t appreciate that. What can I do? It just wasn’t in the spirit of the night. I was disappointed, but whatever their reasons were I didn’t understand it.”
Joe Conte, the officials association liaison to the CIF-Southern Section, said he and unit assigner Bob McQueen, spoke individually to the officials involved and will talk to them at length in tonight’s meeting.
“We’ll get all sides of the story,” Conte said. “I hate to make a statement that’s out of context at this time.”
Umpire Darren Winkley, one of five officials who worked the Temple City-Arcadia game, told the Los Angeles Times none of the officials made a comment about overtime pay, and it was the crew’s policy not to allow overtime before league games.
“It was wrong for one of the officials to (speak) to the L.A. Times,” Conte said. “We always ask our officials not to make comments at the game – either to reporters or spectators – or say anything that can be misconstrued or misprinted.
“It’s a policy. Everything should be directed to the liaison, which I am, and if a statement has to be made it should not come from the officials.
“In the heat of things, things are said and taken out of context, and that’s not right. Talking to the Times or any reporter is a no-no. You just don’t do it, at any level.”
Conte said the association is going to re-emphasize the rules.
“Our job is to start a football game and end a football game,” he said. “There is no stipulation we get paid for overtime. It could go five overtimes.
“But it’s hard for me to believe that statement was made. I’m not even sure that statement was made. Knowing these gentlemen it’s hard for me to believe it was made. I need to talk to the people involved, and if it was made then we’ll handle it.”
CIF-SS spokesman Thom Simmons said they will not follow up on the issue but did say Rob Wigod, assistant commissioner in charge of football, is expecting the association to send something.
There also won’t be any repercussions from the Southern Section.
“No,” Simmons said, “because at the end of the day the repercussions have to come from the unit. They’re employed by the unit.”
Simmons, however, said the Southern Section can have its playoff assignments curtailed.
Conte said he’s been fielding calls about the incident.
“They (the officiating crew) feel terrible about the repercussion this has caused to the community,” Conte said. “We all do. Our entire unit feels bad about that. That’s not what’s meant to happen on Friday night.”
It didn’t happen last Thursday when South Pasadena and Glendale were tied at 21. Tigers coach Ed Smith and Nitros coach Alan Eberhart agreed after the game to play overtime. Less than five minutes later, Glendale won, 28-21.
Electrical problems with field lights delayed the St. Margaret’s-Whittier Christian game for an hour. Whittier Christian coach Sergio Gradilla said they were willing to drive to San Juan Capistrano to play, but the lights eventually came on and the game was played and finished later than expected.
Same with last week’s Littlerock-Duarte game. Littlerock’s bus had a flat tire on the way to Duarte, which delayed the game two hours. It ended at almost 11 p.m.
So long as coaches agree to play overtime, officials must oblige. Whether they agree before, during or after is irrelevant.
“Sometime during the game, it may not be the beginning, but the officials ask if you want overtime,” Azusa coach Joe Scherf said. “It’s kind of strange they (officials) would walk away like that. You pay the refs $72 a game for three hours of work. To stay for extra 30 minutes isn’t asking much.”