AUSTIN, Texas - The Austin LBJ football team was one win away from playing in for a state championship and it looked like they were heading that way as they were up 28-7 at halftime against Lindale in the Class 4-A Division I state semifinal.
But the Austin LBJ Jaguars received 16 of their 18 penalties in the second half while Lindale only had two which came in the final minute.
Jaguar supporters felt the game wasn't called fairly so Austin LBJ and the local chapter of the NAACP filed a complaint with the UIL and the Texas Association of Sports. Officials are now reviewing the game play-by-play.
Austin LBJ head football coach Jahmal Fenner spoke to FOX 7 Austin's John Hygh about why he felt the complaint was necessary.
"Just the way the game was called, the way it was officiated, there was some discrepancy on the penalties and how many penalties there was against us, but not only that, after watching the film, we saw that they committed a lot of fouls as well, but there were no calls," Fenner says.
Fenner says they haven't received any information about a timetable for what's next but says that he imagines that there would be "some kind of reprimand."
Looking back on the game, Fenner says, "You can feel it, you know, in that type of environment when the game is being controlled by the officiating, you can feel it."
"That's not the first time that I had that feeling, after being a player for 20 years and then coaching for 10 years, you can sense it," Fenner says, "If the officiating is that bad in a semifinal game, then we need to do something different, but at the same time, we have to bring awareness if there is any reason why someone wants to call fouls versus a team for whatever reason, we need to understand why."
Fenner says it was hard to talk to his team after the game.
"We wanted to definitely address the kids because it was an emotional game for them. Obviously, them not being able to go to the state championship and then losing after a really great run and a really great ride, but at the same time, when you know that you just can't come in and be sincere and say, "look guys, this is because of us and we just need to focus on us and move forward," there was more to it, so it was very difficult," Fenner says.