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2013 Demetriouisms / Game Situations

Week 9 (10/28/2013)

  1. Onside kick from the K-40. The ball is first touched by K56 at the K-45. While the ball is loose, K78 is flagged for a block in the back at the K-48. The ball is recovered by R67 at the 50.  The Referee gave Team R two options: take the result of the play, R’s ball, 1st and 10 at the 50, OR penalize K 10 yards and re-kick from the K-30.  R’s coach wanted to take the ball at the spot of first touching, the K-45, but this was not allowed. RULING: That is a legitimate option. R neither fouled during the play nor would they want to accept the penalty – those are the only two things that negate the right to take the ball at the spot of first touching.
  2. A FM penalty on a QB sack was enforced from the previous spot instead of the end of the run. This has happened more than once this season. It’s the NCAA enforcement and I’m not sure how it has crept into our game.
  3. Inexplicably a block below the waist was enforced only 10 yards instead of 15. It appears not all crew members are checking on enforcement. It’s just not simply an R/U show.
  4. A varsity game was played without a visible clock. The stadium lights functioned properly, but there was a problem with the circuit to the scoreboard. Although two members of this crew were electricians, neither one was assigned to this game. The LJ kept the game clock and the game administrator shadowed him with a wireless mike to the PA system. The time remaining was announced after every change of possession and after every play with four minutes remaining in the half (Rule 3-3-1). It worked quite well except the losing team became suspicious when the game ended in 45 minutes (just kidding).

Week 8 (10/21/2013)

  1. Sub varsity games are to be played under the same rules as varsity unless both coaches agree to do otherwise. That includes playing overtime if the game is tied.
  2. If the kicking team gets possession of a kick, the ball is dead. On a punt, if the receivers muff the kick and K recovers, the ball belongs to K but it is dead at the spot of the recovery. In a 4A varsity game, K was allowed to score a TD on such a play. A similar play occurred in a 3A game, but the referee corrected the error after the play; the correct spot got missed by five yards though. This rule should be reviewed in each pregame.
  3. In a kickoff, R25 runs up to catch the kick. He muffs the ball, and the ball remains in bounds. R25 continues out of bounds, returns in bounds at R’s 20 yard line, picks up the loose ball and returns it to the 50 yard line where he is downed. The covering official has a flag at R’s 20. RULING: There is no foul unless R went OOB intentionally.
  4. On a punt, there are two deep receivers. Both signal for a fair catch. As one receiver catches the ball cleanly, the other receiver is tackled. RULING: A dead-ball foul for the tackle. Even if the second receiver hadn’t signaled, it likely would be a foul for hitting a player obviously out of the play.

Week 7 (10/14/2013)

  1. If there is a DBF after the last play of the game, the game is over (unless it is tied) and the penalty cannot be enforced. If the foul is flagrant and an ejection is warranted, it is within the official’s jurisdiction and is to be reported just like any other ejection.
  2. Noisemakers in the stands are prohibited per CHSAA policy; that is a game administration issue. The officials may have to deal with bands interfering with play; that also should be done the game administrator.
  3. Lightning Strikes Twice: Fortunately the second bolt came down in Oregon. They had the wrong player ejected. Same outcome as ours – the error was caught via video and the player reinstated. Please allow this to serve as a poignant reminder.
  4. Also from the hinterland. The LJ blew his whistle and signaled to stop the clock (9.8 seconds remaining in the half) on a forward progress stop. After the whistle the ball was stripped from the runner and returned for an apparent 98-yard touchdown. The clock ran during the “touchdown” run and expired. After a long conference, the referee negated the touchdown but forgot about correcting the clock and declared the half over. The team on offense lost by three points after missing out on at least one more play from the B-2.
  5. The punt returner signaled for a fair catch on a short kick. He had to move to catch the ball and in the process he bumped into a K player. KCI was correctly called. The coach argued that because the punt returner moved a substantial distance from where he signaled, a foul could not be called because the kicking team was deceived as to the location of the ball. That is not a rule. K is responsible for knowing the location of the ball and for not obstructing R’s path. Also, please note the signal had nothing to do with this play. R’s right to an unobstructed path to the ball is the same whether he signals or not.
  6. Please make sure you distinguish between sideline warnings for non-contact violations of the restricted area and USC fouls for criticism of the officials from the team. We had yet another coach argue that his assistant could not be flagged for cursing the LJ because no warning had been given. While informal warnings for minor language transgressions from the team box are possible, they are not obligatory.

Week 6 (10/07/2013)

  1. For sideline interference, the penalty is assessed to the coach who actually committed the infraction. The head coach is only charged if the culprit cannot be determined. There are no warnings for contact interference.
  2. Please do not use sideline warnings for foul language or criticism of officials. Minor stuff can be handled informally with the head coach, otherwise flag it.
  3. Whenever the play clock is interrupted, it must be resumed at 25 seconds. If a time advantage is to be gained via an equipment problem, the game clock can be held to the snap if it was running, but you have to give them a new 25 seconds to run the play. That is not published anywhere, but it’s the NCAA rule and I see no reason to be different.
  4. A delay foul was called on a team, down 30-0, for being late getting back at halftime. Their locker room was just beyond the end zone. We should be able to manage these situations to avoid such fouls.
  5. We’ve had two cases where a block in the back was called on the defense. In one of the them, the coach lost it and was ejected. A football advantage to an illegal block in the block by the defense is rare. The defense can legally block in the back anywhere on the field to get to a loose ball or the runner. If such a foul occurs and the opponent is knocked down, it becomes a safety issue and a personal foul for unnecessary roughness is the more appropriate call. If possible, make it a DBF.
  6. The n- word is still being used colloquially among black players; please do not tolerate it in any form or fashion. If used as a taunt/insult, flag it regardless of who said it.
  7. Blocking or tipping a kick does not always excuse a foul for contacting the kick. The contact has to be directly related to the touch and the contact must be unavoidable. If player A touches the kick, player B still has to avoid the kicker and holder and player A doesn’t get a free shot.
  8. You know you’ve done a good job when you call call a personal foul on a player and his coach comes onto the field to chew out the player and says nothing to the officials.

Week 5 (09/29/2013)
(1) After a quarterback sack with 20 seconds to play in the half, the referee decides he missed the offensive team's request for a timeout and replays fourth down adding 14 seconds back on the clock. Needless to say a touchdown was scored on the replay. RULING: Coaches may only request timeouts. A timeout does not occur until if and when an official grants it – the actual language is “legally granted.” The referee does not have the authority to retroactively grant a timeout and undo a play.

(2) For the opening and 2H kickoffs, if it is not already part of the BJ’s routine, please add to his list to check that the clock is set to 12:00.

(3) Please confirm the pre-game ceremonies with the host AD during the warm-up. We had a referee blow the RFP for the opening kickoff and the band started playing the national anthem.

(4) The QB must be under center to legally spike the ball to stop the clock. He cannot be in a shotgun formation.

(5) Following a touchdown A5 runs off the field as he is not on the kick try team. The coach decides to go for a 2-point conversion and A5 then returns to the field to be in on the play. RULING: When A5 runs off the field, he does not lose his status as a player unless he is replaced (have fun figuring that out). In this situation, considering the mix up, no foul should be called.

(6) The QB put his hands under center to take a snap when the coach yells at him to go to a shotgun formation. The QB then shifts back. RULING: It is a foul only if the shift is abrupt and simulates the start of a play. Otherwise, the shift is legal.

(7) The tight end is in a 3-point stance and the WR on his end is covering him up, the tight end then stands up and shifts to the other side of the line. RULING: That is a FS. If it doesn’t fool anybody though, you can deal with via a conversation with the coach after the play. The same applies to guards and tackles in a 3-pt stance that adjusts their position (as the team is getting set) by sliding laterally without actually lifting up.

(8) Third and five from the A-5, shotgun formation, the snap is high comes to rest in the back of the end zone. B steps out the back of the end zone then comes back in to the end zone and recovers the ball. RULING: Touchdown for B. Team B is not restricted from going OOB unless they do so intentionally. Intent can be gauged by the advantage gained. In this case, the player simply over ran the ball.

(9) Last Thu, the San Francisco 49ers attempted a free kick after a fair catch from their own 39 yard line – a 71-yard field goal. Phil Dawson misfired badly on the try, with his kick sailing well wide left and coming up short. It was fielded by the Rams’ Austin Pettis nine yards deep in the end zone, and he was then allowed to return it. If this had happened exactly that way in a HS game, the clock would not have started and a TB would be called when the ball broke the plane of the GL. It was a kickoff. Everything about kickoff rules applies except for the scoring opportunity.

(10) The runner is hit in the chest and his helmet pops off. L flags it but let’s the play continue. The runner gains seven yards before he is tackled. RULING: There was no reason for the flag as the helmet came off because it was improperly worn. The ball should have been returned to the spot where it became dead by rule.

(11) There have been several cases where the kicking team has gotten possession of the ball after a muff and has been allowed to advance. In all the cases I know about, the crew eventually figured out the ball was dead when K got possession, but they rarely got the right spot. If the play gets killed by rule, we not get the right spot, but there is one less tackle where injury can result.

(12) On a two-point try, there was a FM foul on the defense. The coach asked to have the penalty enforced on the KO, but the referee would not allow it even though his crew agreed with the coach.

Week 4 (09/23/2013)
I guess it was inevitable that we would have a towel incident with apparently overzealous officials. My information is third-hand so please focus on the correct way to handle these situations and don’t worry about exactly what did or did not happen.

  1. Before the snap, two players on the same team were observed with different colored towels. Play was stopped and one of the players was told to leave the game. The coach took a timeout because he wanted the player to stay in the game, but the referee wouldn’t allow it. RULING: Ideally the towel discrepancy would be caught during pregame warm-ups. Playing one down with different colored towels is not an egregious sin; the situation should have been handled after the play. Towels can be easily removed and thrown to the sideline. The player should have been allowed to play after the timeout. The good news is we have one coach who will pay better attention to the towels his player wears.
  2. A coach held a conference between the hash marks during an injury timeout. He was asked to go back to the sideline and when he did not comply, he was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct. RULING: An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Wing officials need to monitor their teams during all timeouts. Ideally, the coach never should not have been allowed to go out there in first place. The coach’s version was he didn’t know he couldn’t go out there and had his headset on so he didn’t hear the official tell him to leave. Conferences outside the numbers are allowed during injury timeouts but not between the hashes. That rule has been around for a long time and all coaches should know that rule. Sometimes they get carried away and a gentle reminder will work. While the foul is supportable, this could have been handled better.
  3. Option QB’s can be contacted after they release the ball, particularly if it is not clear they gave up the ball, but the defense doesn’t have free reign to dump the QB. Applying RTP criteria here makes sense. Do not allow the defense to inflict punishment or put the QB to the ground if it is clear he no longer has the ball. Look for renewed effort as you would on an OOB play.
  4. On a try, A23 fumbles and the ball is lying on the one yard line. B42 sees A23 is about to pick up the fumble. So he bats the ball into the end zone where it is recovered by B65. RULING: The penalty for the illegal bat can be enforced from the end of the run and the try replayed. The bat is the force that put the ball into the EZ, so the result of the play is a safety and that constitutes a successful try per Table 8-1. Consequently, the one point can be accepted and foul enforced on the succeeding KO.
  5. On a punt R44 signals for a fair catch. He muffs the ball and immediately recovers it. He starts to run as the whistle is blown and is immediately tackled (after taking 2-3 steps). RULING: The whistle was blown as soon as the BJ recognized R44 had possession of the ball, so the play was officiated properly. By rule, there were two fouls: A delay foul on R44 for advancing a dead ball (albeit he started running before he could react to the whistle) and a PF on the player who tackled him. The tackler merely responded to a runner so I support a no call on that. Excusing the delay foul is more of a debate which should be held. In the actual occurrence, no one was flagged. The Team R coach only questioned the quick whistle because he didn’t know the ball is dead following a recovery of a muff after a FC signal. This is a great discussion topic.
  6. This is a repeat from last year because it has come up twice already. “CHSAA and CFOA totally support sporting play. Taking a knee at the end of a decided game is a gracious thing to do. When the offense announces the "victory" play, the defense is expected to oblige. The concept of playing hard until there are zeros on the clock is the wrong philosophy for HS play. If the defense violates this protocol, they should be flagged for unnecessary roughness. If it's a misunderstanding, the 15-yard penalty will suffice. If it is repeated or there is an objection to good sportsmanship, please report it so that a CHSAA rep can discuss it with the coach.” Using the new “victory mechanic” will minimize chance of a fight or injury in this situation.

Week 3 (09/17/2013)
(1) A player had brand new yellow gloves with the NOCSAE label. The officials forbid their use. RULING: There are no color restrictions on gloves except they may not be ball-colored (1-5-3c1). Only towels cannot be penalty-flag colored..

(2) This is a rule of thumb for whatever it is worth. I have not timed HS plays for a comparison. Supposedly, if an NFL team runs a play that doesn’t stop the clock and they are out of timeouts, it takes about 16 seconds to get the FG team on the field, line up, get set and kick the ball. Obviously, the time is going to vary somewhat depending on the distance gained on the play as well as many other factors. The value to us is to make doubly sure all the rules are followed when a FG is attempted with about that much time remaining. It doesn’t happen very often in HS play, but is a chance to be above the rest when it does happen.

(3) Contact Downfield: This comes up every year. It seems like we have too many people that want to follow the NFL no matter how often we discuss this. Before a pass is thrown, a defender has the right to assume that an approaching offensive player is coming out to block him and can initiate contact. “Approaching” means heading directly toward and in front of the defender. Once the receiver gets past the defender, turns away from him or otherwise makes it clear he is not going to block the defender, the defender cannot initiate contact. If he does it is illegal use of hands and if it continues until the ball is released, it is DPI. When in doubt go with DPI.

Week 2 (09/08/2013)
(1) A touchdown was scored on the last play of 3Q and the officials had the teams switch ends of the field before the try. RULING: The try is always attempted at the same end of the field as the touchdown.

(2) When a player loses his helmet and must sit out a play, an official’s timeout must be taken to ensure the team is aware of the need to substitute. If the clock is otherwise stopped at the end of the play, it is not necessary to formally signal the timeout, but the referee must ensure the team has substituted before blowing the ready. We had a situation where the wing official, without being asked, told the coach the player could go back in for the next play if the coach took a timeout. The wing was so persuasive, he convinced the referee it was a rule change this year.

(3) A player starts the game as the LT wearing #77. At the half, he switches to #22 to play running back. #22 was worn by a different player in the first half. RULING: Legal, as long as the opposing coach is informed and there is no deception.

(4) 2nd & 10 on A-40. Team A commits pass interference, B intercepts but fumbles and A recovers and is downed at the A-25. RULING: B's interception cannot stand because they subsequently fumbled. So B has two choices: (1) Decline the OPI penalty and let the result of the play stand: A 1 & 10 @ A-25 or (2) Accept the penalty: A 2nd & 20 @A-30. I would pick (2) but this is something to ask the coach.

(5) On a KO, A22 touches the line drive kick and it rolls into the EZ. A22 chases it and is allowed to run it out to the A-8. RULING: Any kick that enters R’s EZ is dead and a TB. This was a crew error (and I emphasize crew).

Week 1 (09/01/2013)
(1) Team A is in a free kick formation. After the Back Judge hands the ball to the player standing next to the kicking tee and the RFP is whistled, said player flips the ball backward to a teammate who subsequently drop kicks the football. Ruling: 6-1-2 requires the kick be made from K’s free kick line. There is no value in debating the implied requirement to designate a spot and kicking the ball from that spot. It is not a backward pass because the ball is not live when he throws it backward.

(2) On a kickoff, the kicker starts to approach the ball to kick and changes his mind or stumbles. His foot barely touches the ball and knocks it off the tee. He then picks up the ball and puts it back on the tee. Ruling. That is a legal kick followed by first touching and K possession. The ball belongs to R at the spot where K picked it up. However, it makes sense to blow the whistle immediately and reset everyone for the kick just as if the wind had blown the ball off the tee.

(3) A66 loses his helmet behind the play and A22 runs for a very long gain. After the play, A66 is observed returning to his helmet to retrieve it. Ruling: Ideally a helmetless player will remain near his helmet; however that won’t always happen. Movement alone is not participation. Participation (2-30) is an act that has influence on play. That means performing a football-related act or drawing coverage. In this case, it was apparent that A66 merely rambled downfield watching the play. No official had observed A66 participating, so no foul occurred.

(4) During an injury timeout, what can the teams do? Ruling: 3-5-8c allows a conference outside the 9-yard marks if granted by the referee (3-5-8a3). Case Play 3.5.10B illustrates this situation. In CO, approval for such a conference is automatically granted via policy. It is not necessary for a coach to ask the referee for permission to hold such a conference. The coach is responsible for ending his conference when notified the official’s timeout for the injury is ending.

(5) A pass is intercepted with a backward dive near the GL. By rule, the catch is not completed until a body part other than the hand returns to the ground inbounds. It is not clear if the ball is over the GL when that happens. When in doubt, it is a touchback. The ball should be clearly over the one-yard line or further out for momentum to be ruled.

Week 0 (08/25/2013)
(1) The official of the week award goes to the unnamed umpire who kept his flag in his pocket when he saw a defender break a double team hold and make the tackle at the LOS. The umpire’s restraint is especially exceptional because he withstood the ensuing barrage from the defensive coach.

(2) The boogey coach of the week award goes to the unnamed coach who announced at a scrimmage that he was a changed man and would stay calm during this year’s games. A half hour later he blasted a new official working his first scrimmage for a FM call telling the guy that he wouldn’t be working any varsity games.

(3) The snapper lined up with his shoulders perpendicular to the line and legally snapped the ball sideways (not between his legs). Everyone (the officials) knew that was a foul, but the debate was LBF v. DBF. By rule that is an LBF for an illegal formation. 2-32-9 requires linemen to face their opponent’s GL with their shoulders approximately parallel thereto. The rule of thumb is 30 degrees, so 90 degrees is clearly illegal. Because the snapper’s position can be changed or a timeout taken before the snap, the foul does not occur until the ball is snapped. A legal shift by such a snapper is a tricky move but could be legally enacted. Once he touches the ball, he must keep at least one hand on it (7-1-3a). He cannot make any movement that simulates a snap (7-1-3b). Please note the snapper has more freedom of movement than guards or tackles and is allowed to lift a hand he has placed on the ground as long as it doesn’t simulate a snap (7-1-7c). The snapper is not required to snap the ball between his legs, so the snap itself was legal.

(4) The pass receiver dove for the ball and caught it. After hitting the ground, he rolled and jumped to his feet. He was then tackled. The tackle was flagged for a late hit and the clichés came out “There was no whistle.” The coach accepted the explanation that his players need to know when the ball is dead, but offered the runner fouled by immediately getting up. This type of play is subject to judgment as to whether the defender had had enough to discern if the runner was down. Please emphasize dead-ball officiating and don’t buy the “no whistle” excuse.

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