On Friday night one team won a game it didn’t play, and simultaneously lost a game it did play. And the other team played a game and won, but still has a record of 0-0.
You’re not alone in that regard after the official record of Friday’s contest between Handley and Beauregard went in the books.
Or didn’t go in the books, as appears to be the case.
On the field Handley defeated Beauregard 36-6. It happened. There were witnesses.
But in the official record book, that game is nothing more than another scrimmage for Handley and doesn’t count for anything.
That’s because Beauregard was originally scheduled to play Booker T. Washington that night. But BTW’s school system said the team was not going to play any games in August as a COVID-19 related precaution. So according to the AHSAA, BTW forfeited that game and, by rule, Beauregard won 1-0.
Well, it turns out that a school can’t win and lose a ballgame on the same night.
As AHSAA media director Ron Ingram explained via email, “Once a school (BTW) forfeits a game, the offended school [Beauregard] can find a replacement game if it chooses, but it is considered (this year only) a non-counting replacement game, and that game is not the game of record.”
And a game cannot count for one team and not the other.
“Handley cannot officially count the win over Beauregard on its record either,” he added.
Handley also played and won a preseason contest against RCHS two weeks ago in a game that was originally scheduled to be last week. The schedule shuffle occurred as a result of preseason cancellations by both of those teams’ originally scheduled opponents – Notasulga and LaFayette.
So here Handley sits with a pair of wins under its belt and still getting ready for its regular season opener Friday against Munford.
“In my mind I’m 2-0. I’ve played two ballgames and won them both,” said Handley head coach Larry Strain. “I could care less if it goes in the record books or not. I had to play games in order to get ready for Munford this week.”
The only way the non-game against Beauregard could hurt Handley is if the Tigers end up in a tie-breaker situation for playoff seeding at the end of the year. As the Handley schedule currently stands, the Tigers will play just two official non-region games (as opposed to the four originally scheduled).
Victories over non-region opponents typically end up being a deciding tiebreaker, and the more of those a team has the better chance it has of wining those tiebreakers. So we’ll see at the end of the season if Handley’s phantom game actually has an impact on the season or is just a weird footnote to an already unusual season.
Before we close the book on this there’s one more thing to address.
The keen observers of this strange situation may be led to ask another logical question. Since Friday’s RCHS-Woodland game was not originally on the schedule, does that game also go down as a non-counting contest?
According to Ingram the answer is no. That game does count. The reason is because Woodland originally had a game scheduled that week against a school from Georgia, and the “AHSAA has no authority to assess a forfeit to an out-of-state school,” Ingram said.
Since both teams had an open week without a forfeit in play, the game counts on both schools’ official record.
We knew this year was going to be unlike any other, but even knowing that there’s no way we could have anticipated something so bizarre as what occurred Friday. I can personally say I have never seen anything like it 17 years of covering high school sports.
“I don’t think anybody else has either,” Strain said.