Playoff time

In 3A, Window Rock and Parker made it in the playoffs – even I knew WR was a long shot to make it, but the chips fell the right way and in they are.

But Parker was a complete surprise. Coach JP called for a win over River Valley, but I didn’t think the stars would align correctly to get Parker in – they had a lot of help from bonus points from other teams.

Over in 2A, Red Mesa is getting a home date in the first round and that will probably be the difference in their game – travelling up to Red Mesa from Cochise County is Willcox – that’s almost an 8 hr drive.

The heavyweights in 2A are all on the same side of the bracket too – Benson, St. Johns, Scottsdale Christian, Valley Christian, and underseeded Thatcher are all going to have to eliminate each other to get out of the bracket, with Benson having the easiest path as the #2 seed.

Now I’m working on a football playoff committee proposal. Hopefully it will address these issues and make things right in the future.

Show Low Makes the Paper

The Arizona Republic finally got wind of the Show Low debacle and interviewed Coach Ricedorff and several other prominent coaches.

Ricedorff is actually quoted as saying “In the fourth quarter, we were going to score again whether we ran the ball or threw the ball.”

DUH. You threw the ball, you scored. Obviousman to the rescue!

You’re also FULL OF SHIT. Run four dive plays up the middle and you’ll turn the ball over on downs.

The final quote of the entire article is once again Ricedorff: “It’s not necessarily about Rathen being my son. It’s about Show Low football.”

If I was a Show Low fan, I’d be upset – I didn’t know that Show Low football was about breaking records and rolling over teams regardless of sportsmanship. I didn’t know that Show Low football somehow turned into the Coaches’ Son’s Team. I didn’t know that the AIA’s “Victory With Honor” did not apply to Show Low.

In fact, I didn’t know that the Show Low coach was a EMBARRASSING LOON.

Multiple coaches, including one from Ricedorff’s own division, are quoted as saying that running up the score is bad. In fact, one, Valley Christian’s Bill Morgan, even goes so far to say “I have told my son that it’s not as much about his individual goals as it is about our team doing well.” St. Johns’ Mike Morgan chimes in, “It doesn’t send a good message, beating up on lesser talent.” And Blue Ridge’s Paul Moro calls Show Low’s record “audacious”.

That means “brazen, impudent, or insolent boldness” for you, Coach Ricedorff.

There will always been fans that are, well, fanatical to the point of narcissism. I get that. But for the rest of you, if you have even one shred of decency, especially alumni, you should be asking yourself why you’re allowing Coach Ricedorff to make a mockery of the tradition of Show Low football.

After all, this incident is going to follow Show Low forever. 10 years from now, people will still equate “bad sportsmanship” with Show Low football, even though it’s not deserved. And Coach Ricedorff, well, he’ll be gone long before that (probably the moment his son graduates).

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The Republic placed a poll on the article to gather opinion on the whole thing. I already did that the week this took place on the DKC website. The poll question was Did the Show Low coach show good sportsmanship by letting his starting QB play in all four quarters?. The results? 89.2% of the readers said NO at the time.

That same poll has been reinstated on the DKC website, so if you’re inclined, go ahead and check it out.

Cave City HS Knows the Definition of “Class”

A complete contrast from last Friday’s ignominious record-setting game is one played in the Deep South, where two teams (Cave City and Yelleville-Summit) battled and one showed just how much class a high school football team could have.

In a game that was in hand after three quarters against an undermanned team, Cave City had every right to score on its final possession (a kickoff return) with only seconds remaining in a 34-16 game.

Except it didn’t. The D-I prospect returning the kickoff, Thamail Morgan, easily blew through Yelleville-Summit’s kicking team and headed for the endzone… and stopped at the 2, backed up three yards, and took a knee.

Morgan’s coach and teammates were yelling at him from the sidelines telling him not to score. Morgan admits to hearing them yell, but that wasn’t really a factor in his decision to take a knee. “We did not want to come out in a game like this and not show any class… I knew that scoring was not the right thing to do,” said Morgan.

Classy from the top down – the coaches set the example, and the kids follow.

The coaching crew in a certain mountaintop high school could use a refresher course from Cave City.

Show Low High School’s new “low”

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”.

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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.

Almost forgotten

During HS football season, I don’t really post in this blog – I prefer to do a lot of my work over on the HS ratings site. I suppose I should really cross-post so that people here know what’s going on over there 😉

HS football here in AZ is already in full swing, two weeks into the season. A lot of the preseason favorites are remaining true to form across most divisions, but the biggest surprise has to be Ray (2A), not because of how they’re playing on the field but because of what’s transpired off of it.

The week of Ray’s scrimmage, several kids (9 to be exact) were suspended due to what the school is calling “rules violations”. The coach himself was the one that suspended the kids. However, the next week, the school board deemed it necessary to suspend the kids for the remainder of the season (10 weeks, not counting playoffs) instead of just 1-4 games. The starting QB quit, and then the coach resigned and his son also left the team, leaving the team with only 18 players. The coach’s son was also about to be suspended as well for the same “rules violations”, so rather than having to suspend his own son, the coach quit.

Those 18 players took the field anyway against 2A powerhouse Tombstone last Friday and were summarily beaten by a score of 66-8. However, reports from the game stated that even though Ray was now undermanned, they still played tough. The Ray QB had not even played football for a couple of years, and never above the JV level, and still went out there and played his best.

In my opinion, the season-long suspensions for all 9 kids was excessive. I understand that the administration has a “no second chances” policy, however that policy needs to be revisited – the school belongs to a very small and close-knit community, where what happens at someone’s house can become gossip-fodder in another part of town in a matter of hours. The high school is really one of the focal points of the community, and punishing the kids for 10-plus weeks (because quite frankly, Ray would have been playoff bound had they kept their team intact) for “rules violations” is excessive. The kids should be allowed to work their way back into the good graces of the community, not just written off, which is what the current school administration does with a “no 2nd chances” policy.

Also, the parents of the kids should have some responsibility in the punishment – as it is, their kids continue to go to school AND can transfer to another school without any protest from the Ray HS administration. If the parents were involved in the punishment, then I likely believe this punishment would have been much lighter. I believe that the correct punishment should have been 5 games for the ringleader (because you know there was one), and 2-3 games for everyone else involved. There also should have been a legal ramification as well, since these “rules violations” allegedly occurred off-campus, perhaps some community service.

As it is, the school should also look at itself before pointing fingers and backing a “no second chances” policy. As a matter of public record, one of its own employees was cited for DUI two years ago and yet still remains employed. What kind of mixed message does that send to the community? That adults get second chances, but kids don’t? Do as I say, not as I do?

I do not live in Kearny, AZ. I have only visited there once for a funeral. It’s not exactly a hotbed of happenings. But I do know, having grown up in a small town myself, that the community needs to band together in this time – and from the looks of it, it is doing so. Now it’s up to the school to take the same action and reduce the suspensions of those kids to something more reasonable.

I will be watching what happens to the team from Ray HS for the remainder of the season, and I really hope they bounce back from this drama. Maybe even win a couple of games. At the very least, the 18 kids remaining will be bonded uniquely like no other team in this state and will hopefully take this experience with them out in the real world when they graduate.

[Author edit: After reflection, I’ve come to realize that there was a paragraph here that was really more of an outburst than a rational thought; while my intention was not to blackball a coach but rather berate him for leaving the kids high and dry, in unfortunately was interpreted as such. Therefore, I’ve removed it from this post and the other locations it has been posted.]