Sporting WCA

Ultimate Chicken?

The highly anticipated Ultimate Chicken Championship game took place on Wednesday afternoon, and it was a thriller. Some of the best athletes from both the Senior and Junior classes took the floor for two intense minutes of competition. When the game clock showed all zeros, the Seniors were winning 1-0, but was this the correct outcome?

Let’s start by taking a look at the rosters from both sides. The Senior squad was laden with basketball players including Jerram Adams, Isaac Johnston, Kiley McKee, Claire Sanden, and Kristen Keys, as well as Maxwell Burns and Atlin Hall. This team is certainly athletic and definitely had more muscle than the Juniors, but the Juniors almost certainly entered as the favorites. Led by Brennan Orf, the Junior team included Ben Straub, Mason Andrasko, Ben Parres, Hanna Ottsen, Heidi Hightower, and Izzy Cunningham.

The match started with a jump ball between Brennan Orf and Maxwell Burns. Despite a two-inch height advantage and a toss towards the Senior side, Burns managed to lose the jump to Orf. The Juniors went right to work, but lost possession of the chicken after a mixup between Straub and Andrasko on a pass from Izzy Cunningham. On the ensuing possession, the Seniors took the chicken down the floor and turned it over as Isaac Johnston tried to make a diving play in the end zone.

Ben Parres picked up the chicken in the end zone and looked to Orf for a pass. He tossed the chicken just a few feet, but Burns jumped on Orf’s back and reached around for the chicken, drawing an obvious foul.

With possession once again, the Juniors moved down the court methodically. The chicken was tossed to Heidi Hightower at the top of the key, and she went for Hanna Ottsen in the end zone. However, the chicken hit the backboard of the basketball hoop that was down for the first time all week because of the Half-Court Shot competition which was to follow, deflecting it away from Ottsen and sending it to the floor. The hoop was only down on one end, but the play was called a turnover and the chicken was given to the Seniors.

The chicken can clearly be seen hitting off the backboard. In the absence of the hoop, this play is almost a sure touchdown.

The game continued. When Jerram Adams received the chicken outside the three point line with twenty seconds remaining, Atlin Hall made a break. Adams put the ball in the air, and Hall went up. He caught the ball, but he was clearly out of bounds. The play was called a touchdown as Rabbi Davis and Jake Rattan exclaimed, celebrating the Senior score as only ten seconds remained. None of the referees or faculty members gave the play any attention as students from the 11th grade section were baffled.

Here, Hall can be seen jumping in the air for the chicken. When he lands, he is clearly out of bounds as he secures possession. The referee had a clear view, but no call was made.

The Juniors on the floor remained calm. The chicken moved quickly and calmly from player to player, until it was in the hands of Mason Andrasko five feet from the end zone with three seconds remaining.

Burns, realizing that he might never get to put his pads and helmet on again, went for one last hit on Westminster campus. Andrasko tossed the chicken low and to the right of Orf, putting it in a place where only Orf could catch it as he tried to avoid the defense. Burns once again jumped on Orf’s back and took him to the ground just as the buzzer sounded.

No foul was called. The Seniors celebrated their 1-0 “victory.”

To recap, there were three main calls that affected the outcome of the game. The first was the fact that the basketball hoop was down only one side. If the Juniors had been going the other direction, they almost definitely would’ve scored. The second play was the play in the back of the end zone with Atlin Hall. With Hall clearly being out of the end zone, the play should not have been called a touchdown. The third play was the final play of the game. Orf was taken to the ground by Burns, and would’ve caught the chicken for a touchdown had he not been pushed.

Obviously, this game is just for fun and the referees are just doing their best to play by a rule book that doesn’t necessarily exist, but all three of these calls are pretty obviously wrong. The Hall touchdown play is especially clear because he was not close to being inbounds.

As the Spirit Week competition remains highly competitive between Juniors and Seniors, this game could end up being the difference in the greater competition. Could an overtime/rematch period be played with this clear evidence? Or will the Seniors win simply because they are Seniors?