Head coach Brandon Crosby has his first win as a Fort Lewis College head football coach.
Five days after the season opener on the road at New Mexico Highlands was canceled because of weather, FLC was awarded a victory by the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference. The Skyhawks held a 7-0 lead at the time of the cancellation with 6 minutes, 19 seconds to play in the second quarter, and FLC departed Las Vegas, New Mexico, without a clear indication of whether the game would be played at another date or be canceled entirely.
Thursday, the result became clear when the RMAC changed FLC’s record to 1-0 in the standings.
In a statement released by the conference, bylaw 7.7.4 was cited for the decision. That rule states: If a conference contest must be postponed due to weather or other uncontrollable factors, the athletic directors of the competing teams may mutually agree to end the game at any point with the final score being declared at the point the game was interrupted. If there is not a mutual agreement to end the game at the point of interruption, the game will be resumed the following day at a time mutually agreed upon by both institutions with the time and game situation in existence at the time of interruption.
“The RMAC confirmed by ruling that the result of the suspended Fort Lewis at New Mexico Highlands football game on September 7 will stand with Fort Lewis awarded the 7-0 win,” the RMAC said in a statement. “NCAA Football Rule 3-3-3-c defers to conference policy – RMAC Bylaw 7.7.4, which was approved by coaches and athletics administrators, and permits a game to be terminated with a determined final score if the game is not resumed the next day.”
Crosby said the ruling will give the Skyhawks (1-0) a chance to turn the page going into this week’s home opener against Dixie State University (0-1).
“It will help us moving forward to know we at least didn’t get a loss from it,” he said. “Everyone wants to win, but we needed some closure on it. We can stop thinking about it, move forward and focus on the rest of the season. Hearing we get a win for it gives us a little more juice going into this game coming up Saturday.”
Crosby and Highlands head coach Marty Fine mutually agreed to depart the field after more than five hours of weather delays Saturday. The health and safety of the players, who hadn’t had a chance to eat since the morning and had gone out to the field to warm up multiple times only to be sent back to the locker room, was the focus of both coaches.
“It was up to the conference,” Crosby said. “Everything that we did on game day was for the safety of the kids for both teams. Due to the weather and circumstances for the next day, we came to the agreement we both would depart the venue instead of waiting to play at midnight or 1 a.m. or something like that. From there, it came down to the ruling of the conference.”
FLC will welcome the Dixie State Trailblazers at noon Saturday at Ray Dennison Memorial Field. Crosby planned to tell his players about the win after Thursday’s practice.
“That will be a nice note to end practice on,” he said.