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This Just In ...

Kevin Fischer is a veteran broadcaster, the recipient of over 150 major journalism awards from the Milwaukee Press Club, the Wisconsin Associated Press, the Northwest Broadcast News Association, the Wisconsin Bar Association, and others. He has been seen and heard on Milwaukee TV and radio stations for over three decades. A longtime aide to state Senate Republicans in the Wisconsin Legislature, Kevin can be seen offering his views on the news on the public affairs program, "InterCHANGE," on Milwaukee Public Television Channel 10, and heard filling in on Newstalk 1130 WISN. He lives with his wife, Jennifer, and their lovely young daughter, Kyla Audrey, in Franklin.

Teaching moments lost at high school football games


I hate when sports teams pour it on, especially at the high school level.  There is no excuse for it

For the past 32 years, I have been the public address announcer at historic South Stadium. I have witnessed, in person over the past 44 years, well over 500 high school football games. Nothing makes me more angry then when a superior team rubs the faces of their opponents in it by attempting to make the scoreboard TILT.

This season, I’ve worked three ballgames, and already in two of them, I’ve seen questionable sportsmanship.

Remember fans, this is HIGH SCHOOL we’re talking about. It’s not college where you’re trying score to impress pollsters so you can play in a bowl game AFTER January 1. This isn’t pro football where a tiebreaker for a playoff spot might come down to total points scored. This is amateur ball with a capital “A.”


POOR SPORTSMANSHIP EXAMPLE #1
AUGUST 28, 2009, MILWAUKEE SOUTH DIVISION VS. RACINE PARK

This contest was over before Park even got off their bus. Everyone knew it.

When the halftime whistles on the field blew, Park led South 35-0. Under a Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association (WIAA) rule, when the point differential in the 2nd half between the two teams reaches 35 points or greater, there’s a running clock that can only stop if there’s a score, a charged timeout, a severe injury, or the end of the 3rd quarter. This is a bad rule, but I’ll get into that later.

The running clock in the 2nd half of this game served its purpose. In all those 500-plus high school games I’ve seen over 44 years, I can tell you how many times I’ve seen a team that was down 35 points in the 2nd half come back to win: ZERO. This isn’t ESPN Sportscenter stuff, folks.

Park did score again making it 42-0 and had the ball near the South 10-yard line with just under two minutes to play. It was 4th down and South took a timeout to talk to the defense so they’d be prepared to make a stop and prevent further damage.

On the other sideline, I know what Park should have been discussing with its offense, plain and simple. We’re up 42-0. There’s less than 2 minutes to play. No need for another score. When the ball is snapped, the quarterback should……and here is a phrase I swear there isn’t a single high school football coach in southeastern Wisconsin knows, understands, or ever cares to call:

TAKE A F***** KNEE!

What do you think happened?

Did the Park QB take a knee?

Are you nuts?

There was a handoff up the middle.  Granted, that’s almost like taking a knee, but not quite.
There’s every chance the running back squirts into the end zone and now it's 48-0.

Why? Where are you going with that? A 42-0 victory isn’t good enough for you?

South did stop the Park runner after a short gain; however, the wrong call was made by Park during the timeout. The proper call:

TAKE A F***** KNEE!

Not the most blatant example of pouring it on by any stretch of the imagination. But read the title of this blog again.


POOR SPORTSMANSHIP EXAMPLE #2
SEPTEMBER 5, MILWAUKEE BRADLEY TECH VS. MILWAUKEE NORTH DIVISION

Shame on the schedulers. This one should have never been booked.

Tech has a pretty decent team, as long as they don’t play anyone outside the City Conference. North is lucky to have a team.

When the North bus pulled up to historic South Stadium, out came the Blue Devil squad………all 15 of them.

Tech scored first to make it 7-0. But a highly over-matched North team came right back to make it 7-6.

And then, as expected, came the avalanche.

With two minutes to go in the first quarter, North’s QB Jabari Hill who was now playing defense got hit backwards by three Tech linemen during a simple run up the middle. Hill went down, landed flat on his back, and didn’t move. The call was made to 9-1-1, and Hill’s day was over. He suffered a neck injury, and will be fine. But now North was down to 14 players without Hill who was their everything. He could throw, he could run, he could kick, he could play defense. Suddenly, just 10 minutes into the game, he was on his way to the hospital.

Not that Tech was ever in any danger, but they went on a scoring spree. Hill’s replacement at QB for North couldn’t even take a snap properly and North was in reverse the rest of the afternoon.Tech led at halftime 51-6. Cue the running clock.

If common sense ruled high school football instead of the WIAA and macho high school coaches who have watched too much Sunday football on TV, the game would have been over. Good afternoon, everyone. Sayonara. Buenos Dias.

But the game continues with a deflated North team that has given up and a Tech team with its starters still playing, trying to score more.

We're now in the 3rd quarter, and Tech coaches with headsets sitting next to me and the official timer (and believe me, despite what I’m about to say, the coaches are not bad guys) are absolutely giddy as the scoreboard reads 64-6.

One of them looks over at us and says, grinning from ear to ear, “Do you think we could score 100?”

I was not smiling. He asked. I answered with my own question.

“You can't be serious, are you?”

The coach was incredulous.

“Well what are we supposed to do? Take a bunch of knees?"

Before I could say,




YES!




YES!




YES!




My partner in the press box, the official timer, Bob Wanek who has worked as the official timer for the Milwaukee Bucks for decades said, ”Well, now that you mention it, sounds like a great idea.”

Of course, this sensible idea is apparently foreign to any high school football coach in our area.

At the start of the 4th quarter, at the request of the North coach, the clock was not to stop FOR ANY REASON.

Had I been the North coach, here’s what I would have done at the halftime whistle. I would have run across the field and encountered the Tech coach and challenged him right there on the spot.

“Look Coach. At the start of the 2nd half, if I see so much as one of your starters in the game on offense, I am pulling my team off the field and we are out of here and we are not coming back."


I would have told the referees the same thing. What is MPS going to do? Fine the guy. There was no need on a sunny, hot afternoon to call 9-1-1 again.

This confrontation, of course, didn’t take place. Tech won 70-6 (hope they were proud of themselves). In 44 years of watching football at historic South Stadium, including phenomenal Tech teams in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s, I never saw a team score 70 points until this past Saturday.

Thankfully, there were no more calls to Bell Ambulance and no fisticuffs on the gridiron.

Now, in spite of all of this, why do I say the running clock rule is a bad one? Because it’s shortsighted.

The running clock doesn’t come into play until the 2nd half. It should be enforced no matter when the point spread becomes 35 points or more, whether it be the first or second quarter. Why wait till the 2nd half. Believe me, that ballgame is history.

Unfortunately, the WIAA in its lack of wisdom will take years to figure this one out.


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