Everything’s bigger in Texas, especially high school football.
This week’s news of parents calling out an opposing coach for being a “bully” during a 91-0 loss is both nauseating and pathetic.
They’re angry the highly-ranked Aledo Bearcats didn’t let off the gas in the second half, despite in all likelihood, head coach Tim Buchanon calling plays after intermission for his second-stringers and junior varsity call-ups — kids that rarely receive any shine in local media coverage and would otherwise never see reps.
“To go out and tell your kids, ‘No, I don’t want you to play hard, because we’re ahead,’ that’s against every fundamental coaching strategy that you have,” Buchanon said to NBC’s Dallas Fort-Worth affiliate.
Plus one, coach.
Without diving too deep into this situation, let’s just say it’s another reflection of a soft society in which everyone’s handed a trophy for participating and given ribbons for signing up. Playing football for “fun” ended in seventh grade. It’s serious business now.
There’s winners and losers for a reason and teachable moments when players on a losing team don’t appreciate the final score. It’s called practice, a multi-day event the following week where you earn the right to succeed.
But this defeatist mentality happens everywhere, not just Texas.
Several times over the last few seasons in local football, games have been moved to a running clock in the second half. It’s great for newspaper deadlines, but depressing for players. There’s no stoppage for incompletions, penalties or plays out of bounds and coaches seldom get the opportunity of calling anything besides a generic handoff or kneel-down.
Officials often deem the contest out of hand, sometimes at the discretion of a coach at halftime, and make the necessary adjustments.
I’ve even seen phantom flags thrown to encourage sportsmanship.
While it partially saves face for the loser, it cripples a team relying on execution and playing time for others to improve. Half of Fairmont’s games this season have finished by 9 p.m. thanks to a running clock in the second half. The Golden Tornadoes even had an opponent refuse to return to the field at halftime.
Players spent nearly two months of their summers — often little time for part-time jobs and other activities — for this?
Imagine the frustration of assistant coaches, a few of them volunteers, when a week’s worth of planning with a personnel group is over in minimal snaps.
Before anyone sends me an e-mail or leaves a message describing the horrors of having a win-first mentality, just understand that whining about not being good enough to compete is for losers.
Week 9 Record: 4-0; Overall 32-11
Just turned in another perfect week as we enter the home stretch, a Jarrod Neal to Shemar Barfield touchdown pass beauty. Several county teams have winning streaks as well and are hoping to keep pace Friday night on their journey toward a Three Rivers Conference championship. As for Purnell Swett and Lumberton, their seasons are a couple weeks from being finished.
Whiteville (7-1, 4-0) at Fairmont (7-1, 3-1)
Here’s some bulletin board material for the Fairmont brass: Are the Golden Tornadoes tough enough up front to compete with Whiteville? The Wolfpack are going to try and pound Robeson County’s top team into submission early and it’ll be up to Fairmont’s strength at the line of scrimmage to keep pace. The Golden Tornadoes won’t have trouble moving the football, but a much-improved defense will be tested often.
Whiteville 35, Fairmont 34
St. Pauls (6-2, 3-1) at South Columbus (6-2, 4-0)
Which team can knock off the league favorite Stallions? South Robeson and Red Springs took swings and whiffed. This week, the Bulldogs get a shot followed by Fairmont. South Columbus has taken care of business with several blowouts during its current six-game winning streak, but St. Pauls is the best team it has faced since Week 2. We’re going to see a competitive game early before the Stallions eventually pull away down the stretch.
South Columbus 42, St. Pauls 20
East Columbus (2-6, 0-4) at Red Springs (0-8, 0-4)
Despite losing its first eight games this season, Red Springs hasn’t differentiated from its plan of playing fast and playing aggressive, but the offense is stuck in a rut. Fairmont shut out George Coltharp’s team for the first time in the Blake Greene era last week, a frustrating night of three-and-outs and faulty execution. The offense is bound to break out of its slump before season’s end and that first victory for the Red Devils should happen this week.
Red Springs 20, East Columbus 18
South Robeson (5-3, 2-2) at West Columbus (1-6, 0-4)
South Robeson’s on the verge of seeing its season derail if the Mustangs don’t get it together the remainder of the regular season. Another win could lock in a first-round playoff game, quite a turnaround for a program that went winless just two years ago. South Robeson has too much speed on the edges for the Vikings to keep up with two running backs on the verge of 1,000-yard seasons.
South Robeson 28, West Columbus 12
Swett (2-6, 0-2) at Pinecrest (7-1, 1-1)
Pinecrest is the wrecking ball while Swett’s the dilapidated structure with several windows missing. That’s how this one could finish in Southern Pines for a program that got its feelings hurt last week at Scotland. The Rams have searched all season for consistency, but haven’t established enough on both sides of the football to warrant an upset pick. A ticked off Patriots team takes its anger out on a Southeastern Conference rival in convincing fashion.
Pinecrest 35, Swett 6
Lumberton (0-8, 0-2) at Richmond (7-1, 2-0)
The first of two for the Pirates in which Lumberton is out-manned at nearly every position. Richmond’s speed option is its bread and butter, a play linebackers Demetri Sheridan and Tim Benson will have to try and stop throughout. Sustaining drives and avoiding mistakes is key for Lumberton or this could get ugly quickly.
Richmond 44, Lumberton 14
Reach staff writer Brad Crawford at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @MrPalmettoSDS.