High School

“Mr. High School Sports” – Spanning the States (Week 5)

Footballs

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

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By Matt Popchock

(mpopchock@kdka.com)

*In the event of a lightning strike near the stadium, or otherwise severe weather spotted in the vacinity of an ongoing football game, PIAA rules call for a mandatory delay of at least 30 minutes, with teams and officials alike clearing the field until instructed.

I don’t have a PIAA rule book at my fingertips, nor do I have the time to go digging for this online, but I’d wager there aren’t any specific procedures outlined for an ant delay.

Seemingly it’s a different story for Hunter-Kinard-Tyler High School in South Carolina, where last Friday’s game against visiting Calhoun County was delayed and ultimately postponed till Sunday…because of ants.

The referee determined the game could not continue until a number of fire ant hills that had appeared on the field were either dug out or destroyed. Early attempts were not successful, so the game was completed this past Sunday, after the field was treated.

If anyone, especially older readers, can recall a high school game in Pennsylvania ever being halted under such bizarre circumstances, I’m all ears (e-mail me, tweet me, or leave a comment below), because I sure can’t.

*How good is high school football in Texas? Last Friday senior tailback Jordan Barnes of Van Alstyne High School racked up 522 yards on 34 carries, scoring six touchdowns in his team’s victory…but it’s only the fourth best single-game rushing performance in state history.

You would think that a performance like that in such a football-crazed region would have major colleges foaming at the mouth, but according to Barnes’ father, it’s been tough to get him noticed simply because he plays at a small school. Still, upon further scrutiny, he looks like one heck of an athlete, and it sounds like he’s getting some attention from TCU, Baylor, and Michigan, among several other midwestern schools.

*In my blog, I try to accentuate the positive, because, manifestly, these are kids playing a game. I don’t like to declare shenanigans, and I don’t like to name names, but a story out of Tennessee made me smile a bit.

Recently someone in the local media pointed out, in no uncertain terms, that cheating has occasionally taken place in the WPIAL, on some level, for years. For example, a student-athlete will list a particular person’s house in a particular (other) school district as his or her primary address to gain eligibility to play for that school, when, in reality, it’s just an aunt’s house, or a grandmother’s house, and is visited infrequently. In the past, if the WPIAL would get wise to this, sometimes they would leave it to the schools to dole out punishment, and if that were the case, the schools, in some instances, were not above looking the other way.

The Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association, on the other hand, has taken the bull by the horns.

Two brothers who play on the offensive line for Perry County (Linden, TN), one of the top teams in that state, were kicked off the team after their mother unwittingly posted this on Facebook:

“How can two boys mess up their room as badly as they do when they’re only here on Saturday and Sunday?”

The mother works in a different district, as the TSSAA has found out, and the organization has also forced the team to vacate three wins for using ineligible players. The funny thing is, Perry County quarterback Jacob Tucker is close to breaking multiple Tennessee career records, and the TSSAA is letting all stats from those three games count, even though the results do not.

Why does this make me smile? Because nowadays scholastic sports sometimes fly in the face of one of the core values with which I was brought up–that cheaters never win. It’s nice to see people playing by the rules (even if it’s done unintentionally).

*Last Friday Archbishop Moeller edged fellow Cincinnati-area power St. Xavier 27-24 at the University of Cincinnati’s Nippert Stadium, a game we mentioned at the time as featuring two nationally-ranked teams. One of Pitt’s Class of 2012 recruits, offensive lineman Brandyn Cook, played in that game for Saint X. The 6’2″, 292-pound Cook is ranked among the top 50 offensive line prospects in America by CBS Sports recruiting expert Tom Lemming.

Meanwhile, another of Todd Graham’s Class of 2012 recruits, Cleveland High School (Cleveland, Tennessee) dual-threat quarterback Chad Voytik, looks like he’s hitting his stride. He threw for one touchdown and ran for four more in a 41-6 rout of Red Bank, the No. 4 ranked Class 4A team in Tennessee, last week.

Check out Larry Fleming’s write-up in The Chattanoogan.

*What’s the biggest high school game on the national scene Friday night? It appears to be all the way out on the West Coast; 4-0 Servite (Anaheim) will visit 5-1 Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas) in the third inter-state contest of the season for Gorman. Servite’s defense is led by linebacker and BYU recruit Butch Pauu. Gorman is ranked 11th in the latest MaxPreps Xcellent25 (human) poll, while Servite is ranked 23rd.

By the way, Central Catholic, despite beating Woodland Hills last Friday, dropped out of the MaxPreps Freeman (computer) top 25, and is currently sitting at No. 27 in that poll.

(Follow me on Twitter: twitter.com/mpopchock)

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