This season's most pivotal game in the Maryland Scholastic Association B Conference came down to one controversial call -- the final whistle.
With No. 15 St. Paul's and host Cardinal Gibbons muddled in a 0-0 tie at the end of regulation, the game ended with a hot debate over whether or not it should have gone to overtime.
St. Paul's, which moved up from the C Conference this season, never had played overtime. Cardinal Gibbons, which moved down from the A, always had.
But the referees ruled that the game was over due to a grandfather clause that has St. Paul's following C Conference guidelines this season.
The ruling infuriated several on the Gibbons sideline, including a bewildered Gibbons coach Frank Trcka.
"Since the demise of the MSA, nobody is taking control," said Trcka. "This is just another example of a rule that was never interpreted properly. It's a shame for a good game to end like this."
Said St. Paul's coach Mitch Tullai: "The B Conference never played sudden death as far as I know."
Tullai, who announced his retirement Thursday, has one regular-season game remaining next week against Boys' Latin, and Gibbons meets Spalding.
The B Conference title will remain up for grabs until next week. Both teams are tied for first at 3-0-1.
"A tie with these guys is fine with me," said St. Paul's quarterback Tucker Radebaugh, who added that since the loss of star running back John Solter for the season, the offense hasn't been the same.
"It hasn't been working since Solter's been out. We miss him badly. When you have a guy rushing for at least 150 yards a game, you're going to miss him quite a bit."
St. Paul's best scoring chance was wiped out by a fumble. With St. Paul's driving at the Gibbons 6 late in the first half, running back Chris Berrier fumbled and Gibbons recovered at the 5.
St. Paul's got as close as the Gibbons 22 in the second half.
St. Paul's out-gained Gibbons, 155-98, but had to relay on the running ability of Radebaugh for the bulk of its offense. Radebaugh, usually rolling right, had seven carries for 57 yards.
He also made a key interception late in the fourth quarter that gave St. Paul's the chance for victory.
With just under two minutes left, he picked off Rocky Keener's floating pass deep in his territory, and ran it back 40 yards down the right sideline to give St. Paul's the ball at the Gibbons 25. But it stalled.