Usually, a game that ends prematurely is called off for weather concerns or a mercy rule. Not one Maryland lacrosse game on Tuesday.
When Westminster (Md.) High School faced off against Mount St. Joseph High School (Baltimore), the game was stopped with Westminster holding a 10-5 lead. Yet the game ended with most of the fourth quarter remaining, and there was no lightning or a mercy rule in sight.
Rather, the contest was halted because of safety concerns on the part of the officials from the Southern Lacrosse Officials Association who were working the game. According to the Carroll County Times, both teams had been flagged with physical penalties and had players ejected before the officials decided enough was enough, met with coaches and called off the remainder of the game.
That’s a very rare move, though just how rare may have only become clear when the Times looked into it after the game was over. Per the Times, the last time a game in Carroll County was called off early for non-weather or blowout reasons was 15 years earlier, in Spring 2004.
“I have never had a high school game that I officiated that we could not finish,” veteran Maryland lacrosse and soccer official Ross Burbage told the Times. “To have it halted that way is extremely rare.”
According to others, the officials were only working on behalf of the student athletes and their longer term safety as the game spiraled out of hand.
While that may be true, it also highlights just why the early ending was so rare, at least in Maryland lacrosse.
“I’m not faulting the officials here by any means … they do have an obligation to take [safety] into consideration,” Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Associated Executive Director Lee Dove told the Times. “I’m sure this was not a light decision they made.”