So now that the final high school football game of the season has been played it’s time we turn our attention to…high school football?
It’s the only sport, at least here in the San Gabriel Valley, that we can say that. And that I think is the problem with high school football all-star games.
The Hall of Fame All-Star Game at West Covina High Friday night wasn’t exactly a Picasso. Missed blocks, missed tackles, missed assignments and generally mistakes marred the contest that was eventually won by the East 7-6. But given the timing of the game and amount of time that the teams had to practice it’s really not surprising.
By late June it’s already been six months since most of these players have seen actual game time – seven for the players on the teams that didn’t make the playoffs. Some of the players that will suit up again in September have kept up on daily workouts but those that haven’t been in the weight room aren’t close to game shape.
Then the players have a week or so to get ready for the game. High school football is now a 12 month a year operation. After the season ends in November or December returning players are back working out by January. Spring football starts in late March or early April and teams are already throwing by May.
When the season finally kicks off in September they have already been at it for nearly six full months. Yet for the graduating seniors that have been selected to play in the all-star game they have had six months off and then get a week of practice. Thus the missed tackles, missed assignments, missed blocks etc.
Why not play the game in January or early February right after the conclusion of the season? The players are still in shape and ready to go. They’ve been playing for nearly eight months anyway so what’s another week or so? Why play an all-star game for a season that ended six months before? Can you imagine a high school all-star basketball game being played in October?
The other problem is that not of all the best players are participating. If a kid has a scholarship to play football in college the last thing he is going to do is risk injury playing in a game that is basically meaningless.
The game Friday night featured plenty of talented players that deserved the opportunity to put on the uniform one last time in high school but a lot of great players sat it out.
But if the game is moved up to the end of the season, they might consider playing. Even if they were to get injured they would still have months to heal. All these factors would make for a much better game and far less miscues.
As for the game itself it was surprisingly closer than most people thought. If not for a couple of bad snaps and a missed extra point, the West would have pulled it out. By the way did anybody else think that Gilmar Tenes’ extra point was good? From my vantage point on the west sidelines it looked dead center.
I won’t pile on and question the West play calling, but I would have liked to see Rosemead’s Matt Fregoso and El Monte’s Michael Jimenez get more carries. But the fact is when you have Nick Bueno you use him.
It was shame to see Northview’s Marquise Thomas of the East leave the game early in the first quarter with an injury.
I know the Mid is placing a moratorium on this word but I’m using it one more time. Pomona’s Jamal Overton (East) is a beast. He was also the game MVP.
Leon Ward did another great job putting the game together. Now if we can just convince him to move it up six months.
That’s my principle.
Tim can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.