I like covering the high school football all-star games. It’s a chance to see the seniors suit up one last time and maybe for some, the last time. It’s football after all so if there’s game I’m covering it.
But when you see a game like the one last Friday night at Cerritos College it’s clear that there are changes that need to be made. The 605 game traditionally has had some of the best talent in the area and it did again this year. But there are several problems. Most of these players have never played together and it takes time to jell. A few days of practice isn’t nearly enough time to get on the same page. Missed calls, signals, and plays tend to be the order of the day.
Also with the game being played in June it’s been nearly six months since these guys have strapped on the helmet and pads. Most of these guys are athletes and are in top shape. But they’re not necessarily in football shape. There’s a big difference. Quarterbacks’ throws aren’t as crisp and running backs aren’t quite as quick. Routine tackles and blocks are sometimes missed.
At times in past years these things flew under the radar. They weren’t quite as noticeable. However, Friday night they were all on full display.
Both offenses struggled mightily as neither team could score. The East kicked a field goal in the second quarter but that was it until the fourth. Optimists could say that the defenses were stout but let’s just say they had a lot of help.
Penalties and an interception killed the first two possessions for the West. The first snap from center for the East flew over the head of quarterback Frankie Palmer who fell on it just outside of the endzone. That was the first of many errors.
Mistakes and miscues plagued the West as well with bad snaps and missed play calls. The first touchdown for the West came on a blown defensive assignment by the East. When running back Ty’Jon Delancey caught a pass in the corner of the endzone nobody was within ten yards of him.
The West later scored a safety when yet another bad snap by the East nearly sailed out of the endzone. The 12-3 victory for the West brought another level to winning ugly.
Even the officials botched it. After telling West HC Pete Gonzalez to simply run out the clock and no penalty would be called, they immediately threw a flag for delay of game when Gonzalez tried to do exactly that. It was one of a number of blown calls made by the men in stripes.
And lastly if you do have a star player let him play. Rashaad Penny of the East, arguably the best player on the field, had all of five touches.
Move the game to January, throw in a few more practices, and tell the refs to keep the flags in their pockets. Oh and if you have a Penny on your team, or an incredible simulation, give him the ball.
That’s my principle.
Tim can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @tspeterson40
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