Before I start this, I want people to understand that the high school kids that play football are doing their best and following what their coach tells them. In no way am I condemning these kids for the travesty of a game that took place on Friday night (9/18/09).
Show Low 67, Chinle 0. That was the way the final score read after the game.
Show Low QB Ricedorff (the coach’s son) passed for _9_ touchdowns in a blowout that was over at halftime.
The Show Low Head Coach (Randy Ricedorff) went on the radio after the game and stated that the players pushed him into leaving his son out there so he could get the state record. Yes, folks, the head coach just threw his entire team under the bus for running up the score and padding his son’s stats.
The previous 3A division record was 6 touchdowns, held by … a former Show Low QB. But that wasn’t motivation enough.
The state record (all divisions) was 8 TDs, but held by two different _1A_ QB’s – which makes perfect sense because 1A is 8-man football and scores there are regularly 50 points or more per team.
Ricedorff actually broke the 3A record with 3:45 left in the 2nd Quarter with his 7th TD pass. The game was, at that point, 53 – 0.
I’ve spoken to four different coaches about this, and they to a man agreed that if you’re blowing out your opponent by halftime (or leading by 5 TDs or more), you stop throwing the ball and run it instead, preferably between the tackles. You also have your starters showered at halftime and play your 2nd and 3rd string teams. Continuing to throw the ball when you’re up 50 points is showing a complete lack of respect for your opposition.
Coach Ricedorff (remember, he’s QB Ricedorff’s dad) decided, however, that he wanted his son to get the state record. So, starting in the 3rd quarter, his offense consisted of the JV squad and his son – the starter.
The result? A TD in the 3rd quarter, and one more in the 4th. Both were 5-yd passes. Both were set up by long runs where the carrier was instructed to go out of bounds around the 5 yard line.
If it’s a duck, it should be called a duck – Coach Ricedorff left his son in there simply to pad his stats and get a record. It’s not as if Chinle is a powerhouse football team, where the game was a shootout from the starting gun. The kids from Chinle played their hearts out and many a person who attended that game said as much. Those players can hold their heads high because they played as a TEAM.
All the Show Low coaches have shown their charges is how to play for the INDIVIDUAL, that one person’s stats are more important than the rest of the team.
Yes blowouts happen, and yes coaches try to mitigate them as best as possible – I’ve seen coaches up by 5 or 6 TDs try 60-yd field goals, run QB sneaks on 4th down and long, take a knee with 6 minutes left in the game, anything to try and keep the score respectful (and keep the clock running). Coach Ricedorff did none of these things, and ultimately, the kids do what HE says.
The AIA has a slogan for all high schools in Arizona – it’s called “Victory with Honor”. This game was an example of the exact opposite. This game was “Victory with Humiliation”.
UPDATE: Coach Ricedorff got on the radio last night (9/23/09) and tried to explain his thinking and game plan for the game.
Unfortunately, all he ended up doing was reinforcing the fact that he went into the game with a game plan for throwing the ball “all game” against an obviously undermanned opponent. Even the radio host, who is known for his partisanship to certain schools, said that game plan was the wrong decision against this opponent.
Ricedorff’s only apology was that he was sorry about all the “negative publicity” to Show Low HS and to the administration.
One of the previous record holders called in to the show and gave some insight into the previous record, which was a state championship game and a shootout.
A former Show Low coach, Max Foster, wrote an op-ed piece in the Payson Roundup where he pretty much states that the current coaching staff needs to learn what it is to respect an opponent.
Now, the Chinle AD is on record saying that they have no hard feelings toward the SL team by the Chinle team, administration and community… except that the Chinle AD must not be listening to his community, because several members of that community are outraged that this took place.
So, Coach Ricedorff had his chance to make good. He not only didn’t try, he still doesn’t see what he did wrong. That’s too bad, because prior to this incident I, along with many members of the community, had a lot of respect for him as a coach. That respect has since evaporated.