Bowling Green High School football coach Kevin Wallace confirmed Friday that the program will not play its previously scheduled road game at Blackman (Tenn.) next season.
Wallace said in a statement via email that the Purples bought out of the return game, and that no public school funds were used to negate the contract. BGHS beat Blackman 26-25 on Nov. 1 on a tense night at El Donaldson Stadium.
Blackman coach Philip Shadowens told The Daily News Journal in Murfreesboro, Tenn., that Wallace confirmed in an email Bowling Green would pay a $5,000 buyout.
Wallace declined comment to the Daily News on the reasoning for negating the second year of the two-year contract. The Purples have a verbal agreement with a Kentucky school to replace Blackman on the 2014 schedule, which will be released once that new game is finalized, Wallace said.
Bowling Green trailed Blackman – located in Murfreesboro – by four at halftime and 25-20 with 4:18 left last year.
Devin Hayes’ 14-yard pass to Nacarius Fant on fourth down with 35 seconds left was the game-winner, but most of the talk in the immediate aftermath revolved around the friction between the programs and the six unsportsmanlike conduct/personal foul penalties the Blaze were called for in the second half.
Shadowens made multiple radio appearances in Tennessee the following Saturday morning, harshly criticizing the officiating in BG.
“It was a joke,” Shadowens said Nov. 2 on WGNS Radio’s Coaches Corner podcast. “It was pathetic. It was not about the kids, which is what high school sports is supposed to be about. It was a shame to see that happen. I thought our kids and their kids played with great effort.
“It was a great football game, but it was unfortunately controlled by a bunch of officials I guess decided they wanted it to be more about the state of Kentucky, I guess, than it was about high school football and high school athletes.”
Shadowens gave in-depth explanations for his grievances with the penalties, which included pairs of 15-yarders on consecutive offensive and defensive possessions for Blackman with the Purples down 19-13 in the second half.
Blackman was flagged for 12 penalties for 125-plus yards, while Bowling Green was called for three penalties for 15 yards.
He added that the Blaze had been called for four total unsportsmanlike conduct/personal foul penalties this season before Friday’s game, and that it could have been a great game if the officials had “been removed last night and just been normal human beings and let the kids play.”
It was also noted on the podcast that Blackman had just received an award for good sportsmanship from Tennessee’s high school sports governing body.
“We’re blessed to have a great school – lot of great coaches at our school in many sports and a lot of great kids at our school, so all the comments about how classless Blackman is and all those things that those idiots in Bowling Green said (Friday) night is a joke,” Shadowens said. “Anybody that knows us knows we’re competitive as heck. We’re going to compete and fight you and not back down from anything. That’s what our kids are about. But they’re also very classy kids, and unfortunately that wasn’t reciprocated last night.”
Before the game, the Blackman players ran through and cut short Bowling Green’s entrance onto the field.
The Blaze were also called for a personal foul after an interception as time expired in the first half, and BG coach Kevin Wallace had words with members of the Blackman staff after the play.
“It did affect the game,” Wallace said after the win. “I’m just glad our guys kept their composure. We were the ones that kept our composure.”
Added Bowling Green senior linebacker Austin Jones that night: “I was really surprised by those penalties. That just shows you that we play with class; they don’t, and we’re better than them.”
Bowling Green finished the season undefeated and went on to win its third straight Class 5A state title. It brings a 44-game winning streak – the third-longest in state history – into the 2014 season.