MOUNT VERNON — Lance Pedersen could have stayed quiet, and it’s likely nobody would have known.
“How could I do that, though?” he said. “I can’t preach to my team to do the right thing, and behind the scenes, go against what I tell them.”
So when Pedersen and his Mount Vernon football staff realized Monday night that they had committed an infraction of an Iowa High School Athletic Association player eligibility rule, he called Athletics Director Matt Thede.
And by Wednesday morning, the Mustangs’ thrilling 35-33 victory over West Delaware last Friday at Ash Park was overturned. It will go into the record books as a 2-0 West Delaware victory, via forfeit.
Players are allowed a maximum of five quarters in a night, according to IHSAA official Todd Tharp. “It’s a clear rule, cut and dried,” he said.
One of the Mount Vernon players was on the field all four quarters of the JV contest, then played special teams in all four quarters of the varsity game. Six plays total in the varsity contest, Pedersen said.
“It was honest mistake,” Pedersen said. “But honest mistakes still have consequences. It’s an unfortunate situation, but it’s a good lesson. You still have to do the right thing.”
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Mount Vernon had won the game on the final play — a hook-and-ladder touchdown by running back Paul Ryan.
“That play still happened, and (the aftermath) doesn’t take that away,” Thede said. “The kids got a lot better Friday night, and when we met (Tuesday) after hearing what had happened, they were still pretty upbeat.
“I would rather do the right thing than win any day.”
With the change of result, West Delaware’s record goes to 3-0 heading into the Hawks’ encounter with Class 3A No. 1 Cedar Rapids Xavier (3-0) Friday at Manchester. Mount Vernon (0-3) is at Maquoketa (0-3).
“We’re going to keep working hard and taking one game at a time,” Pedersen said. “If we can win out, we win our district and everything will take care of itself as far as they playoffs are concerned.”
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