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September 9, 2010

Dwyer appealing O'Leary suspension

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Dallas Jackson is the Senior Analyst for RivalsHigh. Email him your question, comment or story ideas to DallasJ@Yahoo-Inc.com and follow him on Twitter.

The fallout from the disputed calls that marred the end of a nationally televised football game Saturday is growing.

And Jack Nicklaus' grandson is right in the middle of it.

Nick O'Leary, grandson of the golfing great, has been suspended for two games for making an obscene gesture after his team, Palm Beach Gardens (Fla.) Dwyer, lost to Cleveland Glenville, 26-22, on Monday.

O'Leary, one of the top tight end recruits in the country, was suspended by the Florida High School Athletic Association on Wednesday. His coach, Jack Daniels, originally threatened to forfeit his team's next two games in protest but the school since changed its tune.

He has not, however, softened his stance on the suspension, which the school is appealing.

"We think it's a bunch of crap," Daniels told the Palm Beach Post. "There are no repercussions for the adults who made the calls on the field, but there is for an 18-year-old kid who reacted in the heat of the moment.

"You have a kid who has busted his butt since August. He played 140 snaps against Glenville, on both sides, punting and returning kicks. He was frustrated."

The game ended in controversial fashion as Dwyer appeared to score as many as three times in the final seconds only to be denied by the officials on each occasion.

Glenville, then ranked No. 4 in the country by RivalsHigh, defeated then No. 11 Dwyer, 26-22.

Daniels was not happy after the game, telling RivalsHigh his team had the game "taken away" from them.

Daniels told the Post the team disciplined O'Leary for the gesture.

"We handled it internally," Daniels said. "Nick knew he was wrong."

ESPN analyst Kirk Herbstreit, whose name was on the game, said the game's ending was painful for him to watch.

"It made me sick to my stomach," Herbstreit said to Joe Rose on his morning show on WQAM sports radio in Florida.

Herbstreit said he couldn't believe the ending of the game- which was played in Ohio Stadium and part of the Kirk Herbstreit Kickoff Classic series.

"They throw a fade into the corner of the end zone ... guy clearly gets his feet down for a touchdown. I'm thinking, 'Where's the instant replay?'"

Of course, there is no instant replay in high school.

Then Dwyer had two chances from inside the 2.

"It looked like they got in once, if not the first time, definitely the second time, and the officials don't give them a touchdown three different times and Dwyer ends up losing and my heart just sank," Herbstreit said.

"Just what my event needs."

Herbstreit, a former Ohio State quarterback and Ohio high school player, said he understood if the kids from Florida felt they were done in by out-of-state refs.

"I was with a buddy of mine ... he played high school football with me, and I said, 'Imagine if we flew down to Florida to play one of their better teams and we drove the last drive and scored the winning touchdown and a Florida referee looked us in the eye and said, 'Nope.' And we scored another winning touchdown and a Florida referee said, 'Nope.' And we scored a third winning touchdown and a Florida referee said 'Nope.' "

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