Broward County referees suspended after controversial game involving the Cocoa Tigers

Several high football referees have been suspended for how they handled a game involving the Cocoa Tigers and St. Thomas Aquinas.

The Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) is not overturning the outcome, but apologies are coming into Cocoa Athletics.

The game in South Florida caught commentators off guard. They were shocked when St. Thomas ended up on top, and they weren’t alone.

"My heart broke for them and the coaches," said Mark Carstens who is the athletic director at Cocoa High School.

Cocoa High School claimed the game officials did not follow proper procedure in the final minutes of the game.

The Tigers had the ball with 90 seconds left in the game, and they were ready to celebrate a 36-34 win, but the athletic director said a few kneels, mismanaged penalties, and confusion over time-outs led St. Thomas to get the ball back with 30 seconds left. The team then kicked the game-winning field goal.

"Are we going to cry and whine and make it worse, or are we going to handle it like grownups," said Ryan Schneider who’s the head coach for Cocoa’s program when asked about the game.

The Tigers head coach said he’s proud of how his team handled the outcome. Since the fallout, the coach says both the Broward County Officials Association and the FHSAA issued apologies. Still, the FHSAA denied the school's appeal to review the game and re-consider who really won.

Schneider said he still decided to file an appeal because "we want to fight for our kids. The film shows what happened, and we just wanted to fight for our kids."

The kids are ready to take the field again on Friday, but this loss on their record could still cost the team thousands of dollars down the road.

"A loss is a loss, and we get penalized for that and that could cost us money in travel," Carstens concluded.

New rankings should come out on Monday, and Cocoa is waiting to see how the loss will affect them. Carstens said the team can’t wait to take on Eau Gallie and make a statement after this controversy.