Sideline Squabble

By BRUCE HEFFLINGER & KEVIN EIS Published:

Two weeks remain with league titles and post-season berths still at stake.

There are plenty of questions still to be answered.

If Napoleon wins out is 5-5 good enough to reach week 11?

Is 8-2 not going to cut it for a trip to the playoffs for teams like Tinora, Hicksville and Archbold?

Does 7-1 Edgerton need one win, two wins or no wins to get to the post-season?

Will Liberty Center and the Hicksville-Edgerton winner win outright league titles or is a conference share in the works?

Those are just a few questions that will be answered soon.

Here are a few more.

• The game of the week in the area is without a doubt Edgerton at Hicksville. Let's hear it ... who are you going with and why?

Kevin: That's a tough one, just like it will probably be a tough one for Hicksville this week. Edgerton's offense will provide the Aces' defense with the toughest test it has seen in a while. But that goes both ways … I believe Hicksville will undoubtedly bring more heat than Edgerton has seen all year. I think the game will go to the more battle-tested team, and that would be the Aces. They've been in the bigger games and played the tougher opponents. I don't see this one letting anybody down as the game of the week, though.

Bruce: Overlooked by many this fall has been the defensive performance of Hicksville. The Aces have allowed just 10 points combined in five GMC games and that will be the difference against Edgerton, which enters Friday's showdown averaging 51 points per game in league play.

• What do you think about the officiating you've seen thus far on the gridiron?

Kevin: Honestly, while there has been a suspect call here and there, I can't say that I've witnessed much poor officiating this season, at least none that has determined the outcome of any particular game. Most of the penalties I've seen this year were warranted calls, unlike some games last year when the flags were thrown more than the football itself. But I'll tell you what I have seen more of - unsportsmanlike conduct penalties, roughing the passer, etc. Those miscues are killers, especially when they are really uncalled for to begin with. And with the hierarchy of the NFL trying to keep the game "safe," I do believe it is having a trickle-down effect into the college and prep levels. But I'll leave the complaining to others … nothing can be done about it anyway.

Bruce: Through week seven my thoughts were this may be the most inconsistent season ever for officials at games I witnessed. Then last Friday it got worse when Liberty Center and Bryan were whistled for 27 penalties totaling 256 yards. Come on, let them play a little. How can teams get in any rhythm when waiting for a flag on each play. Check this stretch of the game ... In a span of three minutes LC was called for a personal foul, holding and a procedure, Bryan was whistled for a face mask and a kickoff by the Bears following a TD was caught by LC's Tony Bais two yards deep in the end zone - and returned to the 29. In case you didn't know, if a ball is kicked into the end zone in high school it is not permitted to be returned. Too bad the two coaches didn't have a red review flag to throw.

• In the NFL last week there was an issue with two coaches shaking hands after a game. What are your thoughts on high school teams and coaches shaking hands after games?

Kevin: It doesn't really matter what sport you're talking about, emotions run high whenever competitive forces collide. It's a facet of human nature - always has been, always will be. It's how one handles emotion that truly displays character. So I really don't think it makes a difference when teams or coaches shake hands with one another. Either way, it's an expected display of sportsmanship. I just think it's too bad when the "jerk factor" takes over. Kudos to those who genuinely mean it.

Bruce: I like the idea of teams and coaches shaking hands before the game - not after it. Show your sportsmanship then and during the game. What is the point afterward? It's not exactly what a coach wants to do when the opposition runs up a score, a team loses a heartbreaker or the opponent spends the night running their mouth after plays. I like how they do it in the major leagues, the losing team heads to the clubhouse while the winning team shakes hands with each other on the field.

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