Friday, November 2, 2007


Two games remain in the regular season and Berlin quarterback Jimmy Connelly has a chance to make his senior season memorable and impress some college coaches along the way. With a huge game at Middletown looming next week, playoff implications to the hilt, Jimmy can use as many snaps as possible to stay sharp, but on this Friday night, that isn't possible.

Jimmy and his teammates are being punished for being too good. He spends most of the second half walking the sidelines and tossing a football to himself. With Berlin cruising to a 34-0 lead and the coaching staff very sensitive about the CIAC's infamous score management policy, Jimmy and the starters are reduced to spectators.

Well, sitting it out is probably better than having to purposely overthrow passes. It wouldn't be right to ask leading rushers Jack Cooper and Kevin Tatro to fumble or fall down in the open field. Kick return demon Drew Hornberger shouldn't have to run out of bounds. The coaches don't want to require Matt DelConte, Ben Domurat and Patrick King to stop blocking.

So the minutes tick quickly away, the sophomores are rushed into the fray and the score of the game is appropriately manipulated to prevent you readers from knowing the true nature of the game at a glance. 34-13. "Hey, RHAM gave Berlin a decent battle," somebody who wasn't at Sage Park may surmise. Not even.

I don't wish to take anything away from the Sachems' young program, which is obviously trying to find its way toward competitiveness in the Nutmeg League. But what can their seniors gain from pummelling Berlin's underclassmen? Somebody is sitting somewhere in the state and smiling because the game of football has been compromised to suit a politically correct agenda.

Football isn't meant to be politically correct. It's a rugged sport in which players need to rev up their emotional level to live up to their potential. It's a sport that the best players on the better teams train for year round and in Connecticut have their playing time decimated as a reward for their diligence.

I'm not going to condone 80-0 games. I agree there is no need for that. At some point. any right-thinking coach will substitute and make the necessary adjustments so it doesn't get to that point. If a coach has trouble adhering to that, any right-thinking athletic director would establish some parameters to rein him in. If a coach cannot execute to an AD's satisfaction, perhaps the prospect of being without a job the following fall would be ample incentive.

We don't need a 50-point rule. Let's get rid of it and write off the two-year travesty to political correctness gone amuk.

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