Last Friday night, they won their game against West Delaware as time expired. It was an improbable first win of the season for the Mt. Vernon Mustangs who ran a little-used play called the hook-and-ladder. You might also call it pitch-and-a-prayer.

This is the final play of last Friday night's game. Watch what happened and then I'll tell you why Mt. Vernon will actually have to put the game in the "loss" column and West Delaware's season remains unscathed (they're 3-0 following today's forfeit by Mt. Vernon).

Mt. Vernon has officially forfeited the game after realizing they had broken one of the rules of the Iowa High School Athletic Association (IHSAA) that involves the eligibility of players.

IHSAA rules allow a player to participate in only five quarters of football on a given night. Mt. Vernon had a player take part in all eight quarters last Friday. All four junior varsity quarters and all four of the varsity game as well, though Mt. Vernon Coach Lance Pedersen says the player was on the field for only six plays in the varsity game. However, early this week Pedersen realized the rule had been broken.

Pedersen could have kept his mouth shut and might have gotten away with the violation, but he told the Gazette,

How could I do that, though? I can’t preach to my team to do the right thing, and behind the scenes, go against what I tell them.

What a breath of fresh air. Thank you, coach. You definitely made the right decision. That game may officially go down as a "loss," but teaching those young men that honesty is more important than a victory is a definite "win." I hope that lesson sticks with them forever. I know the end of that game will...