Carson, Douglas due for good luck
If the old saying “What goes around, comes around” is true, then both the Carson and Douglas football teams are due for some good bounces of the ball – and maybe even a favorable officials’ call.
Although there are questionable calls during the course of each football season, it seems none have gone the Senators’ and Tigers’ way so far this year. And although neither Carson coach Bob Bateman or Douglas coach Mike Rippee would ever blame officiating this season as the reason both teams find themselves with 1-3 records, there’s no doubt that if some clear-cut plays were competently called – or not called – both teams wouldn’t be in their current predicament, where each game is essentially a playoff game from here on out.
— Much has been written about the face-mask penalty called against Douglas last week at Wooster that took away the Tigers’ last opportunity to pull off an upset over the Colts. I wasn’t in the pile-up on the play, so I can’t say for sure there was no penalty, but I never saw one from the stands.
But the game may never have come down to that call if the officials hadn’t blown a call several series earlier, when Wooster’s Josh James clearly raised his arm on a punt on his own 35 to signal for a fair catch. When he caught the ball, however, he began to run upfield. Caught off-guard, the Tiger defenders didn’t stop James until he had run 35 yards to the Douglas 30. After that play, it wasn’t difficult for Wooster to score the TD that put them up by 10 and gave them some breathing room.
After seeing that miscall, which was plainly in view of everyone in the stands, I wasn’t surprised when the face-mask penalty was called at the most inopportune time of the game for Douglas. I came away from that game thinking that a team has to take on the attitude of an underdog heavyweight boxer if it’s trying to beat Wooster in Reno on a Saturday afternoon – it had better win on a knockout and not rely on someone’s decision.
— If Carson fails to make the playoffs, everyone will think back to another blown call on a punt which cost the Senators their game at home against Reno. That night, the officials ruled that returner Doug Brooks had touched a punt and “fumbled,” giving the Huskies possession deep in Carson’s territory. From there, Reno scored the eventual winning touchdown.
That night, both Brooks and Bateman gave the officials the benefit of the doubt. But by all accounts, the game film shows the ball hitting the helmet of a Reno player and never touching Brooks.
It’s a big “If,” but if that play were called correctly, the whole playoff scenario would be entirely different. And Brooks, one of the bright spots in the Senator backfield this season, wouldn’t have lost sleep thinking he’s got to shoulder the blame for a Carson loss in what was otherwise a tremendous performance.
— I’m not holding my breath for the NIAA to institute video replay, nor am I calling for tonight’s referees to “even” the officiating score tonight by giving Carson and Douglas some breaks. But I do hope tonight’s officials take the stance the NHL officiating crews seem to take in an overtime playoff game and let the players decide the outcome of the games.
At least for the final two weeks of the season, it’d be nice for the players to decide how the playoffs will stack up – contrary to the first seven weeks of the season.
Erick Studenicka is a sports writer for the Nevada Appeal.