Minnesota high school football entered the era of replay with Thursday’s state tournament semifinals. It didn’t take long for the reversal of a call to occur.
It happened in the third quarter of the first game, the Nine-Man semifinal between Spring Grove and Stephen-Argyle at U.S. Bank Stadium. A Stephen-Argyle running back was ruled to have fumbled near midfield. The replay booth announced a review and ultimately overturned the ruling of fumble on the basis that the running back’s forward progress had been stopped before the ball coming free.
“It’s the right call,” said Jason Nickelby, director of officiating for the Minnesota State High School League. “We are able to rule on forward progress and how it affects what happened on the play. His forward progress was stopped before the ball came out.”
In June the league recommended the use of replay and its use was approved in September by the National Federation of State High School Associations. Replay is only used in state semifinals and championship games.
Its use is limited to scoring plays, turnovers and specific incidences in the final two minutes of a half that affect the clock, whether a player is in-bounds or if a pass is completed.
Overall, Nickelby said he was pleased with the way it worked Thursday. Spring Grove defeated Stephen-Argyle 27-7.
“It’s been good so far,” he said. “We have five cameras and I’m very pleased with the work of the broadcast crew.”