High school football is just around the corner for Scioto county and as the season draws near, there is one notable rule change fans can expect to see this fall.
The Ohio High School Athletic Association has finally decided to bring the running clock to Friday night football. During uncompetitive contests this fall, uncompetitive meaning a spread of 30 or more points, the score clock will continuously run throughout the second half.
In the past, many people have advocated for a running clock to ease some of the embarrassment of lopsided losses. However, Northwest coach Brooks Fry, who coaches one of the smallest teams (from a numbers standpoint) in the area, isn’t necessarily a fan of the rule.
Fry understands the problem and the reason the OHSAA decided to address the issue. However, Fry contends a better policy would be to leave the choice of the running clock to the coaches and the officials at each game site.
“When your kids see the clock running in the second half even though you’re down, you’re trying to instill in them the fact you never want to give up; there’s always a chance, you need to keep battling and when they see the clock running, it kind of goes against that,” Fry said.
“I think both coaches need to get together with the officials and make that choice together. Making it mandatory takes that choice out of those coaches hands because not everybody feels the same about it. I’m not really thrilled with the rule. I understand why it’s in place but I wish we still had the choice to be able to make that decision.”
Symmes Valley coach Rusty Webb isn’t a fan of the rule because he believes it takes opportunities away from his younger kids, who work just as hard during the season.
“I think it hurts our young kids because we’ve been up on teams 35-40 points in years past and we usually yank our starters, and we usually let our young kids play because they practice as much as our older kids do and I feel they deserve some playing time, but the state’s going to set the rules and we just adjust to them and go on,” Webb said.
Those sentiments were echoed by Fry who added that the experience of playing on Friday nights is vastly unique and shouldn’t be taken for granted.
“There’s no substitute for being able, as a young guy, to play underneath the lights on Friday,” Fry said. “JV time is valuable to those kids but it’s a totally different setting. The crowd’s not the same. Typically you’re playing during the daylight hours. When you get out there on a Friday night, and the lights are on, and the stands are packed, that experience is invaluable for those guys.”
Chris Slone can be reached at 353-3101, ext 1930, or on Twitter @crslone.