The Peterson Principle
By Joe Torosian
September 19, 2012 • 228 views
By Tim Peterson
I went to the snack bar at San Dimas High School Friday night to get something to drink and had to wait a couple of minutes in line. I was immediately flagged for delay of game.
On the way back I was walking in a crowd and the person behind me slightly bumped into me. Another flag flew – interference.
I tried to appeal to the men in striped shirts but was hit with an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. When the game finally ended three hours later, I had a long walk across the campus to the parking lot. Upon finding my vehicle I expressed my happiness with a little fist pump. I was flagged again for excessive celebration.
I was one of the lucky ones. A photographer was penalized for illegal motion, a member of the chain gang was called for holding and a water girl had a yellow flag thrown for too many men (people?) on the field.
There was more laundry at the San Dimas-Monrovia game than the local laundromat. I can joke now about the absurd amount of flags but it wasn’t funny at the time. Actually I do think the water girl really was flagged.
At what point do you just let high school kids play football? It’s been said holding could be called on every play (especially in high school) and it seemed the officials were determined to do just that.
On the high school level there might be more holding, grabbing and yes even celebrating than you might see otherwise. Why ruin it for them?
Unofficially there were 21 penalties called Friday night with more than half called on Monrovia. Holding was the main culprit but there were also penalties ranging from illegal blocks to celebration to pass interference.
Monrovia had four, (yes four!) touchdowns called back and you would have been hard pressed on any of them to find anything illegal. If at least three of the scores are allowed it’s a 56-23 game instead of the 35-23 final.
Yes, San Dimas was penalized as well, but the killers, the real gut wrenchers, were called on Monrovia.
Note to officials: If you think you see a hold but it’s 30 yards behind the play and has nothing to do with the end result, leave the flag in your pocket.
Second note to officials: When a defensive back is running side by side with a receiver with no contact and then knocks the ball away at the last second, it’s not pass interference. Please ignore the Academy Award winning performance of the receiver.
Last note to officials. A simple high five or a chest bump after a touchdown is not excessive celebration. I know you would prefer that a 17 year old kid walks quietly back to the sidelines after making the run of his lifetime, but sorry pal. That’s not going to happen.
“That’s four touchdowns!, Four!” Monrovia HC Ryan Maddox screamed from the sidelines after his team was denied six once again.
After the game, he showed extreme restraint placing the blame on himself and his team.
“You can’t put it on the refs. We can’t make those penalties whatever the case. We need to clean it up,” Maddox said.
Anthony Craft picked off a pass and deftly weaved his way through traffic for a 55 yard touchdown just before halftime. The play was an absolute thing of beauty. The crowd erupted but those raucous cheers suddenly turned into dead silence when that ugly piece of yellow cloth was spotted laying on the turf.
Talk about throwing a wet blanket on a party. Heck, these guys dropped a bomb on it. One official tried to explain there was a clipping penalty on the return. He seemed to be the only one (on either side) that saw it.
“C’mon Tim you saw those calls. It doesn’t make any sense,” an assistant coach told me after the game.
“We were cheated!” said a Monrovia fan.
I won’t say that. It wasn’t intentional. But I will say this. Let the kids enjoy their Friday night. Let them play!
That’s my principle.
Tim can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org