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UPDATE: Controversy Surrounds Division III Football Title Game

Woodstock's 20-19 overtime victory over Mill River in Saturday's Vermont division III state championship game is being questioned by Mill River. The controversy centers on a ruling made by officials on third down during Woodstock's possession in overtime.
Rutland, Vt. - Woodstock's 20-19 overtime victory over Mill River in Saturday's Vermont division III state championship game is being questioned by Mill River. The controversy centers on a ruling made by officials on third down during Woodstock's possession in overtime.

Wasp ball carrier Tom Baumann stretched for the end zone but fumbled out of bounds in the end zone. Officials ruled that Baumann was down on the one before the fumble but video appears to show otherwise. If officials had ruled that the runner had fumbled into the end zone and out of bounds, it would result in a touchback and the end of the game with Mill River winning 19-13. However, officials ruled Baumann had fumbled out of bounds at the one yard line allowing Woodstock to keep the ball. Woodstock scored on the next play and won the division III state championship with a PAT, 20-19 in OT.

The following day (Sunday) Mill River Union principal Andy Pomeroy wrote an e-mail to Vermont Principal's Association Associate Executive Director Bob Johnson. Here is a portion:


We would like to protest the ruling that the ball was out of bounds at the 1 and should be given to Woodstock. At the time of the incident, one of our coaches (asst head coach Tucker Peterson) did ask the referee why he did not rule it a touchback and was told to get back or the ref would call a penalty. Also, the referee closest to the play asked the back judge to help make the call.

I want to be clear that had this been a regular season game, or if this had not been a play that, if called correctly, would have ended the game, I would not be protesting. I understand that human judgement is part of the game. I also know that we want to teach our kids that when they make a mistake, they should admit it and do what they can to make it right. I expect no less of the officials and the VPA.


This e-mail is not a part of Mill River's official protest. The school did file a protest via telephone on Sunday.
Johnson says in his 11 years with the VPA, there hasn't been a protest in a state championship game. Monday the VPA denied Mill River's protest but Mill River is exercising their right to appeal that decision. The VPA will now convene a 5 person committee later this week to make a ruling on the situation.

Mill River principal Andy Pomeroy says they're not protesting Woodstock. ""The players from Woodstock didn't do anything wrong and so to sort of penalize them by taking away the championship would be really hard for them." Pomeroy told Fox 44/ABC 22. "I think that it would be great if something happened that could acknowledge the mistake in some way and try to figure out a way to make that right. Try to make people feel better about it."

"We're not trying to do anything that would diminish them at all." said MRU head coach Art Peterson. "But when you see something that's in error, we're all about trying to make that thing right."
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