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Weird Rules


gumby_in_co
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I want to start a topic about "weird rules" in your league.  Here's ours:

League: Jeffco Midget Football Association

Description: One of 2 large leagues in the Denver Metro area. Single school grade divisions (2nd-8th). 2nd is "rookie" and is somehow less competitive.

Blind Draft:  There is a blind draft at the beginning of each season. Each club conducts their own drafts. They are highly scrutinized and politicized. No coach or team official can be in charge of running the draft. New players who have not been recruited (more on that later) and players who want to leave their last team are put in the draft and assigned a random number. The only information available to coaches in the draft is a) whether or not the player is "patched" (big) b) what division they prefer to play in. Our league pretty much did away with divisions 2 years ago due to dwindling numbers, so I'm not sure if that information is available or relevant. Draft order is up to each club. For our club, I've heard Mahonz describe it a number of times, but I believe a team can be "punished" for not completing admin tasks, etc. For example, if you don't get your paperwork in on time, you draft last. The draft used to be the most abused mechanism in our league for gaining an unfair advantage. Being able to select known players is a huge advantage. Due to the league ignoring most rules for COVID, I'm not sure if hacking the draft will continue to be an advantage.

Recruiting: It is illegal to try to recruit an existing JMFA player to your team. It's okay to recruit players who have never played for JMFA or who haven't played for a JMFA team for 2 seasons. This has been the most abused/ignored rule in our league since I've been a part of it. I'm not a cheater, so I have no idea how teams get around this rule, but it happens all the time.

Patch rule: Players over a certain weight wear a patch and cannot line up in the backfield (offense, defense or special teams), take a hand off, or receive a screen pass (behind the LOS). They may receive a forward pass or return a kick, fumble or interception. This rule goes away in 7th and 8th grade. Last year a motion to abolish it at all age levels failed by 1 vote. IMHO, if they abolished the rule this Winter or Spring and got the word out, you'd have every big in a 50 mile radius moving to our league. The league, however fears that every "small" in the league would leave to join other leagues. This rule gets occasionally abused, but it usually doesn't last long. One very unusual aspect of this is the weigh in that takes place at the beginning of each season. Las Vegas casinos could learn a thing or two from watching this process. Everybody watches everybody and it's near impossible to cheat it.

Minimum Play:  15 minimum plays for 5th grade and below. 10 for 6th and up. Another often abused/ignored rule.

Game Length: 20 plays per quarter for 2nd-4th. 24 for 5th. Game clock for 6th-8th (10 minute quarters)

Off-season practices: Used to be forbidden, but this year, you may hold 2-one hour practices per week starting July 1st. These practices must be voluntary. Only the HC may run these practices. Only returning rostered players may participate. New players must wait until the official start of the season. Mahonz and I used to get crap from our club for running Spring teams, but they fell short of forbidding it.

A lot of weirdness happened last season due to COVID. Many clubs (both JMFA and from other leagues) cancelled their 2020 season and a few folded completely. Teams from those clubs were allowed to play under a JMFA club banner. 2 top teams in our division were allowed to merge into 1 "COVID" team. While the super team still couldn't overcome the resident bully (from our club), this has changed the competitive landscape for the forseeable future. The teams who "moved" took advantage of the chaos to cull their team. The super team did the same. I have no reason to believe that the league will deconstruct these teams after the pandemic is over. So you've got random, "neighborhood" teams going against select teams for the next 4 seasons. Teams that Mahonz and I routinely mercy will have to play against teams who routinely mercy us. We used to have classifications, but those were eliminated due to dwindling numbers.

Final word about the resident bully. That team was unintentionally "selected". Going into our inaugural season (2nd grade), this team had 10 players who played the previous season as 1st graders in a 2nd grade season. They kept those kids. There were about 8 1st graders who entered the draft that year. Our club pres gave them all to us because he trusted we would "take care of them". Our sister team filled their roster with 2nd graders. Our club pres is an honorable guy and truly didn't foresee the impact this would have on the division. They have not lost a game yet in 3 seasons, but the gap is slowly closing. In short, he "stacked" a team, but I'm confident that wasn't his intention. Seeing that unfold made me re-examine the thoughts of stacked teams over the years. It opens the possibility to me that at least some of these teams weren't blatantly stacked to win championships. Sometimes doing what you think is right has unintended consequences.

Let's hear about your "weird rules".

When in doot . . . glass and oot.


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Bob Goodman
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Gumby, I don't want to quote your entire initial post, but although I understand the general idea, there are things about the organization that make it unclear.

I take it you have clubs that compete in the JMFA and field teams in divisions determined by school class and whether rookie or regular.  So how can each club "conduct their own draft"?  Doesn't there have to be a single draft for each player pool by division?  And how can draft order be up to each club?  I could understand it if each club had its own competitive circuit, but not if each club just fields teams in the divisions of the JMFA.

Also, if the draft is blind, where does "being able to select known players" come in?


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mahonz
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Posted by: @bob-goodman

Gumby, I don't want to quote your entire initial post, but although I understand the general idea, there are things about the organization that make it unclear.

I take it you have clubs that compete in the JMFA and field teams in divisions determined by school class and whether rookie or regular.  So how can each club "conduct their own draft"?  Doesn't there have to be a single draft for each player pool by division?  And how can draft order be up to each club?  I could understand it if each club had its own competitive circuit, but not if each club just fields teams in the divisions of the JMFA.

Also, if the draft is blind, where does "being able to select known players" come in?

Beginning in the late 1980's our League decided it was no longer going to be Rec but wasn't willing to be full Competitive either. So they morphed into the dumbest format ever....both. 

Well....you cant do both when dealing with 20 unique Organizations under the same umbrella. Some have the numbers to do both....others can not. Still the rules were always written as though the League was Rec which made sense because it kept the smaller Orgs up and running. 

But then come about 2000 some Dads decided that winning championships at all costs would make up for their small penis syndrome and began to skirt the rules to create super teams. 

The answer? Rather than allowing a full Rec and a full Competitive avenue....nope....we got more Rules that were so poorly written nobody understood them completely. 

Eventually we had so many Rules...many with no consequences...one of the Orgs illegally fielding super teams sued the League in Court and won. 

Most of the Coaches participating had no idea what the Rule's were until they broke one. 

Fortunately the concussion scare hit about the same time the League had gone full on stooopid and numbers began to drop stopping all the madness pretty quickly. 

Now that the Leagues number have dwindled to 75% of its pre concussion era...we all just hope there are 10 teams in our Division so that we can play a unique opponent each week. So what if the scores are 80-0. We get to play.

The COVID teams Lar mentions....a final grasp at the old days. Many of the hard core Boundary and Rostering Rules have fallen by the way side and I couldn't be happier. The strong Orgs will survive and the week will go away. The only negative this forces on the kids is a little added windshield time. Its not like Denver is rural America but traffic does suck. 

We barely even have a Blind Draft anymore and I coach in the largest Org in the State. Draft Day used to be a BIG DEAL. Not so much anymore. Not enough kids. We have our core....and will recruit any roster spots that open up from within or Football Family. I may never Draft again. With our players that opted out due to COVID coming back....we might be at 24 before the Draft. 

This year in my Org in my age Group we had 3 teams. Two had 23 players and one had 15. Just a few years ago that was illegal. Every Roster in every age Group within each Org had to be Rostered within 15% of one another numbers wise. That kept coaches like me that used to field 30+ man Rosters...full two Platoon....from crushing the smaller Orgs that insisted 15 players was doable. And I did this with all of the increases in the MP Rules designed to kill large Rosters. 

I miss those days. Only a few coaches took this route and we all won a TON of games....legally. As we built the team over the years we took any player that registered and taught them all how to be pretty darn good at one thing.. 

Now when I am "negotiating" a higher Roster with the Hazza Gazzas I simply play the safety card.  If I have 15 players they never come off the field....give me 30 and all of the players now play half the time in the games. I call it my Hit Count and it works now that the 15% Rules is gone. By the time my current team gets to the 8th Grade Level....I want 32 players. 

Strength in numbers. 

 

What is beautiful, lives forever.


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Coyote
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Greetings coaches

Maybe weird, maybe not…

Back in the ‘80’s teams would turn their meanest kid loose on the Center’s.  Only job was to beat the tar out of the C and try to force bad snaps.  Got to the point, where parents refused to let their kids play if they were going to play C.  So, one of our weird rules is, if you have a NT he has to play one yard off the ball so the C had a chance to snap and get his head up. 

Around the same time a rule was put in that a minimum of 4 players had to be back 5 yds.  Teams were running a lot of 10-1 and overloading the OLine and no one was getting anywhere. 

To encourage more attempts at extra-point kicks – Defense cannot cross the LOS to try to block the kick, they stand there jumping up and down yelling to distract the kicker.   The holder picks the ball up off the ground, no snap.  If the ball goes between the uprights above the bar = 2 pt, and if goes between the uprights but below the bar = 1 pt.     If it’s a run for 2 pts (happens a lot – not every team can find an 8 – 9 y.o. they trust to kick) then it’s just normal.

Everyone starts, one side or the other.  If there are 5 kids on the bench during Offense, they all go in to play Defense and 5 kids come off from the Offense.   No putting the kid for a couple plays and pulling him, has to play the whole game (barring injury or equip’t issue that sorta thing).  

If a team comes up short-handed for some reason (only used once since I’ve been around) a kid from another team can be borrowed, but can only play defense, in case of a fumble recovery or INT, the play ends.   

This post was modified 3 months ago 2 times by Coyote

Umm.... why does that 6 ft tall 9 yr old have a goatee...?


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gumby_in_co
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Posted by: @bob-goodman

So how can each club "conduct their own draft"?  Doesn't there have to be a single draft for each player pool by division?  And how can draft order be up to each club?  I could understand it if each club had its own competitive circuit, but not if each club just fields teams in the divisions of the JMFA.

So here's where it gets even weirder.  If a kid comes on off the street, he must play for the club (aka org) that is assigned to his geographical location. If a player wants to change clubs/orgs, the rule is that the original club must grant a waiver. Some clubs will never sign a waiver and some clubs are happy to. I don't know how well this is enforced, plus . . . people cheat. All they have to do is say the kid moved and present a utility bill. So drafts club drafts consist if every new, unrecruited player in the geo boundary and anyone who wants to leave their existing team within the same club. Billy from the Spartans can't say, "I want to play for Coach Mahonz". Instead, he can enter the draft with a flag of "do not draft" from his old team. Back when there were 6 teams from our club in the same age division, it was a real crap shoot. Now that there are 3, not so much. 

Also, if the draft is blind, where does "being able to select known players" come in?

Cheating. Make the draft "un-blind". Stack teams with creative movement. I have very little proof, but I think the clubs have to be complicit in this.  I've softened my stance on this after seeing our club inadvertently stack a team. Maybe there are just a lot of happy accidents, but when you have a club with 2 teams in a division and one never loses and the other never wins, it's probably about more than the coaching.

When in doot . . . glass and oot.


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gumby_in_co
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Posted by: @coyote

Greetings coaches

Maybe weird, maybe not…

Back in the ‘80’s teams would turn their meanest kid loose on the Center’s.  Only job was to beat the tar out of the C and try to force bad snaps.  Got to the point, where parents refused to let their kids play if they were going to play C.  So, one of our weird rules is, if you have a NT he has to play one yard off the ball so the C had a chance to snap and get his head up. 

Around the same time a rule was put in that a minimum of 4 players had to be back 5 yds.  Teams were running a lot of 10-1 and overloading the OLine and no one was getting anywhere. 

Our league had similar rules for a time, but I think it was only for the youngest age groups. Didn't last long. I was bitching about it in a meeting once and was told by a lady who had never coached football the this was a good thing because when they hit 5th grade and teams start "airing it out", these "blitz everyone" defenses would no longer work. I made the argument that this is why you shouldn't make these stupid rules. I was invited not to come to any more meetings. Mahonz is good friends with this lady even though she fired him a thousand years ago.

To encourage more attempts at extra-point kicks – Defense cannot cross the LOS to try to block the kick, they stand there jumping up and down yelling to distract the kicker.   The holder picks the ball up off the ground, no snap.  If the ball goes between the uprights above the bar = 2 pt, and if goes between the uprights but below the bar = 1 pt.     If it’s a run for 2 pts (happens a lot – not every team can find an 8 – 9 y.o. they trust to kick) then it’s just normal.

Our league dabbled in this for a while, too. I left this league for a few seasons and when I came back, this rule was gone. We do have a "declared punt" in 2nd grade. You get 15 yards. Another reason to avoid these stupid rules is that the refs get confused on them. This season, we were scouting a game where the ref told the teams they weren't allowed to rush punts. Punter saw the other team standing still and took off. Probably would have got the 1st down, but the ref blew the play dead. Mahonz and I were scratching our heads on that one until we found out the ref had his head up his butt. When we played that team the next week, the opposing coach lost his mind when we rushed his punter and sacked him. 

 

When in doot . . . glass and oot.


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Coyote
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Posted by: @gumby_in_co

Another reason to avoid these stupid rules is that the refs get confused on them

Not just the refs.  When we play cross league games, 'house rules' apply, so their fans get confused when they come to our 'house', and ours get confused when we go to their 'house'... even tho coaches are supposed to explain differences to their fans ahead of time, visitor's usually walk out thinking they were getting cheated, the 'home' team wasn't playing right.   

Umm.... why does that 6 ft tall 9 yr old have a goatee...?


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CoachDP
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Posted by: @coyote

When we play cross league games, 'house rules' apply, so their fans get confused when they come to our 'house', and ours get confused when we go to their 'house'... even tho coaches are supposed to explain differences to their fans ahead of time, visitor's usually walk out thinking they were getting cheated, the 'home' team wasn't playing right.   

But that's still the case even when everyone's playing under the same set of rules.  The losing team goes home saying how they were cheated by the refs, the other team, the weather, etc.  I can understand when kids take that attitude, but their coaches and parents do, as well.  Children leading children...

--Dave

"The Greater the Teacher, the More Powerful the Player."

The Mission Statement: "I want to show any young man that he is far tougher than he thinks, that he can accomplish more than what he dreamed and that his work ethic will take him wherever he wants to go."

#BattleReady newhope


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spidermac
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Our weird inexplicable rule...well at least to me...

In 2018 our "unaffiliated league" (we are USA Football, but not Pop Warner or AYF or anything) decided to follow Pop Warner down the "no kick offs" rabbit hole, because it was dangerous...so in all the age groups but the oldest (11/12), where the kids are bigger/stronger/faster, no more kick offs. Instead, at the beginning of the game and the 2nd half, the ball is placed at the offenses' 25 yard line. After a safety, same thing, ball goes to the 25 (which makes no sense to me, as a free kick on a safety is kicked from deeper in your own end of the field)...after a score, same thing.  There is a mechanism for onside kicks...IF and only IF, you are trailing in the second half, you can elect to try an "onside kick", which still is not a kick...you line the offense up on your own 35 yard line, and get to run one play in an attempt to gain 10 yards. If you are successful, you get the ball on your 45 yard line (regardless of how many yards the play actually netted). If you get 9 or less yards, the ball goes over to the other team at the place where the play is "killed", so if you suffer a 10 yard loss, the "receiving team" get the ball at the 25 going in.

Punts are allowed...with a delayed rush on the punter (put the gunners go at the snap). PAT's have a delayed rush on the kicker until the final year, then it is live. Punt's, for the return man are dangerous, more so than the kick off...

And...Force is equal to mass times velocity...at 7, 8, 9...there is no mass to speak of, or any velocity...at 10, some...at 11, when nuts start dropping and hair starts growing and they are bigger/stronger/faster...suddenly it is a safe play?

I am going to try and get kick offs put back in the game...if you spend time on it, it can be a weapon 🙂 What do your leagues do?

None of them suck, they just haven't found what the kid is good at yet.


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Coyote
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Posted by: @spidermac

I am going to try and get kick offs put back in the game...if you spend time on it, it can be a weapon 🙂 What do your leagues do?

Our league kicks off at all 3 levels.  The return for TD is exciting and a fan favorite (When their side does it).   Our team thrives on the recovering the on-side kick, to the point where nearly all the teams in our age group do it now.   I am unaware of any kids being injured on K.O. in the 6 yrs I've been back in our league.

Umm.... why does that 6 ft tall 9 yr old have a goatee...?


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Bob Goodman
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Posted by: @mahonz
Posted by: @bob-goodman

Gumby, I don't want to quote your entire initial post, but although I understand the general idea, there are things about the organization that make it unclear.

I take it you have clubs that compete in the JMFA and field teams in divisions determined by school class and whether rookie or regular.  So how can each club "conduct their own draft"?  Doesn't there have to be a single draft for each player pool by division?  And how can draft order be up to each club?  I could understand it if each club had its own competitive circuit, but not if each club just fields teams in the divisions of the JMFA.

Also, if the draft is blind, where does "being able to select known players" come in?

Beginning in the late 1980's our League decided it was no longer going to be Rec but wasn't willing to be full Competitive either. So they morphed into the dumbest format ever....both. 

Well....you cant do both when dealing with 20 unique Organizations under the same umbrella. Some have the numbers to do both....others can not. Still the rules were always written as though the League was Rec which made sense because it kept the smaller Orgs up and running.

That doesn't answer my question.  It just adds to my confusion because I don't know what "recreational" and "full competitive" mean in terms of method of organization.


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gumby_in_co
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Posted by: @bob-goodman
Posted by: @mahonz
Posted by: @bob-goodman

Gumby, I don't want to quote your entire initial post, but although I understand the general idea, there are things about the organization that make it unclear.

I take it you have clubs that compete in the JMFA and field teams in divisions determined by school class and whether rookie or regular.  So how can each club "conduct their own draft"?  Doesn't there have to be a single draft for each player pool by division?  And how can draft order be up to each club?  I could understand it if each club had its own competitive circuit, but not if each club just fields teams in the divisions of the JMFA.

Also, if the draft is blind, where does "being able to select known players" come in?

Beginning in the late 1980's our League decided it was no longer going to be Rec but wasn't willing to be full Competitive either. So they morphed into the dumbest format ever....both. 

Well....you cant do both when dealing with 20 unique Organizations under the same umbrella. Some have the numbers to do both....others can not. Still the rules were always written as though the League was Rec which made sense because it kept the smaller Orgs up and running.

That doesn't answer my question.  It just adds to my confusion because I don't know what "recreational" and "full competitive" mean in terms of method of organization.

Competitive=Select. 

The other league in town allows and encourages tryouts. So if you are a club with enough kids to field 5 teams in the same age group, then you may have tryouts and field one or two top teams with the best players out of a field of 100. This puts you at a tremendous advantage over a club that only has enough to field 1 or 2 at that age group. In that league, the culture is such that it's not a big deal to be in D2 or D3. In fact, the biggest challenge is teams who sand bag by staying in the lower divisions and dominating. Only thing that matters is the "big shiny"

In our league, the culture is different (so I've heard). Kids (apparently) get made fun of in school for not being in D1. So most clubs strive (or used to strive) to field a D1 team.  However, if you are a small club with 40 kids in an age division, how are you supposed to field a D1 team that can compete against a club who selected their D1 team from a pool of 100+ kids?  You can't, but clubs still want the prestige of having a D1 team without the risk of being beaten by triple digits.  Our league's answer to that was to eliminate the "select" part, but keep the D1, D2, D3 structure. This had the effect of giving the advantage to small clubs who could "bend" the rules to select their teams. Okay, "bend" is not an accurate word. More like twist the rules into a pretzel, then break that pretzel. If you have a good system of culling the talent on your D1 team without getting caught, then you have a monster of a team in 3 seasons. Large clubs have a harder time doing this due to the nature of the draft. Also, with many teams in the same club in the same age division, things get competitive, so it's harder to get away with cheating. Another coach within your club would raise hell if they saw it happening. Small clubs who work the system typically have 1 team that never loses and another that never wins. The D1 team pushes the bottom end of their talent to the "other" team. Cutting kids or encouraging them to play in a lower division is strictly against the rules. In the small club scenarios, you're far more likely to get the "other" coach to go along with things or turn a blind eye. Much harder to get 5 other coaches to do the same.

Now, it hardly matters because our league has done away with divisions due to dwindling numbers. You might think this would make the "blind draft" obsolete, but the small clubs will not give up their "equalizer". Each club gets an equal vote and the small clubs outnumber the big ones, so the blind draft will never be voted away. Instead, we get new org structures involving "pools" and "tiers" and other nonsense words that don't mean a damn thing. I don't even try to understand them.  Just give me the schedule so I can scout.

When in doot . . . glass and oot.


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mahonz
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Posted by: @bob-goodman

 

 

That doesn't answer my question.  It just adds to my confusion because I don't know what "recreational" and "full competitive" mean in terms of method of organization.

Hopefully Lar covered things for you. In a nutshell....

Competitive = My 10 year old kid is going to play in the NFL

Rec= My 10 year old kid may never see the field in HS unless he plays the Tuba. 

The two philosophies do not marry well. Now my League is back to middle ground.... where it should be. It allows kids to be kids and for those that need more....they can still find it. 

What is beautiful, lives forever.


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gumby_in_co
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Posted by: @mahonz

Now my League is back to middle ground.... where it should be. It allows kids to be kids and for those that need more....they can still find it. 

I like to see our teams flourish and seeing one of my teams win a Carnation Bowl is something I'll always cherish, but I have to say this. The way last season ended with the festival. 2 top teams slugging it out for bragging rights (and the trophy that one of them brought), teams playing similar opponents, everyone thankful that we got one last weekend of football . . . that was the best ending to a season that I can remember. Winning a championship was very cool, but I really feel that bridges were built that weekend. A lot of good was done for the sport and for our football community.

When in doot . . . glass and oot.


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mahonz
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Posted by: @gumby_in_co
Posted by: @mahonz

Now my League is back to middle ground.... where it should be. It allows kids to be kids and for those that need more....they can still find it. 

I like to see our teams flourish and seeing one of my teams win a Carnation Bowl is something I'll always cherish, but I have to say this. The way last season ended with the festival. 2 top teams slugging it out for bragging rights (and the trophy that one of them brought), teams playing similar opponents, everyone thankful that we got one last weekend of football . . . that was the best ending to a season that I can remember. Winning a championship was very cool, but I really feel that bridges were built that weekend. A lot of good was done for the sport and for our football community.

Spot on Lar. 

What is beautiful, lives forever.


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