Blowouts in Youth Football

We all have seen that goofball coach up big, still blitzing every play, starters in, trying to widen his blowout lead. I’ve seen 30 yard pass plays called on the last snap of 50-0 games after a timeout, BY THE TEAM THAT IS LEADING 50-0. My first year of coaching youth football, I was an assistant for an expansion team of 8-10 year olds. Our kids were all rookies and playing our first game against the defending League Champions. As most expected, we didn’t play very well and lost 36-0. Late in the fourth quarter of that game, we did move the ball some and with less than a minute left in the game, got the ball to the other teams 10 yard line. Our kids, although down 36-0 were very excited about the prospects of scoring our very first touchdown. Our enthusiasm was crushed however when the opposing team took a timeout and reinserted their 6 best players to preserve the shutout. As time ran out we were still on the 10 yard line. As our dejected kids were packing into their cars in the parking lot we noticed everyone on the other team was eating doughnuts. It seemed a little odd because it was in the afternoon and doughnuts seem like a breakfast item. One of the opposing players cars was right next to ours, I asked him “Great game boys, you guys played real well, what’s with the doughnuts?” he replied, ” Coach gets us doughnuts for every shutout”.

So this coach reinserted his first teamers so he could get his coveted shutout, and pass out doughnuts, great job coach. Maybe this would be great break-room fodder come Monday where he could brag to his co-workers about his great defensive coaching skills, he could brag about his shutout of an all rookie age 8-10 expansion team. Maybe he’s thinking the Dallas Cowboys might be scouting the youth leagues for good defensive coaches and his shutouts may put him in the running. Great job coach, see you in the NFL. บ้านผลบอล

Now before you think I’m some kind of soccer want to-be communist, don’t. I believe the game should be played to win, but I’m also a big believer in sportsmanship. We play in a competitive league that has spawned both a Heisman and Outland Trophy winner. Teams in our league have gone down to Daytona and won the Top Gun Unlimited Select Division National Championship on numerous occasions. I’m there for my kids first, but I’m also there for the other teams kids as well. Nothing would have been hurt by keeping his reserves in and allowing our kids to score a late and meaningless (meaningful for our kids) touchdown. I didn’t hassle that coach or say anything, it was our job to prepare our kids, but he acted like an immature ogre. I never forgot that.

In 1999 we were playing the Gladiators in the next to last game of the season. We were undefeated and they had not won a game. In fact they had not even scored a touchdown and had lost some real lopsided games, 60-0, 52-0 etc etc. The last game of the season for the Gladiators was the second place team that was showing no mercy to anyone. So the Gladiators and their parents were fully expecting they would go through the entire season without scoring a touchdown. This youth football team was very small and very slow but they kept showing up. The Gladiators are good people and they have a very nice lighted field that we were going to play on in an unusual Thursday night game, then we had our last league game on Sunday. We put all of our second teamers in as starters for this game and even brought up a few younger players from another of my teams to play and sat our starters. We didn’t want to tell our kids not to play, so we played our backups, younger kids and kids out of position.

Even with all that and calling plays we hoped wouldn’t work well, we were up 18-0. All week we had worked on our “Special Play”, it was a set play we used when we were on defense where we did not wrap up the ballcarrier and seemed to just miss him on lots of diving tackles. We looked very good doing it, no one but us had any clue we were not tackling on purpose on this play. Late in the 3rd quarter we signaled in “Special Play”, the Gladiator ballacarrier went around end for a 70 yard TD run. Their team, and their sidelines went crazy, you would have thought they had just scored the winning touchdown in the Super Bowl! I’m talking parents jumping, hugging, crying, I kid you not. We were so believable in fact that they tried an unsuccessful onsides kick on the ensuing kickoff. The final score was 18-6, they got their score, we got our backups and some young kids some playing time, lots of different kids got to carry the ball and our kids learned a lesson in compassion and humility. Three days later our rested starters went out and played the best game of their season against the third place team. After the Gladiator game, their coaches were very appreciative. They even did us a huge favor the next year, our home field was too muddy to play so they opened their park up with their people working the clock and concessions just so 3 of my teams could get our games in. Their field is very nice and they let us tear it up a little, so our kids could play, that’s cooperation.