Time for state to look at a football 'mercy rule'

Published: Wednesday, November 6, 2013 at 04:42 PM.

I’ll answer with this: When Derrell Scott and Taylor Woods, Havelock’s top two running backs, both got injured in a game earlier this year against Northside, Bryant had to turn to backups and junior varsity players to fill in. I asked him after the game about the situation.

“We tell our kids all the time that they’re one injury away from being on the field,” he said.

If that is indeed the case, why would Bryant not want his backup quarterbacks to have the opportunity to throw a pass during a real game against an opposing team trying hard to prevent another touchdown rather than at the end of a routine practice?

In a game earlier this year against Jones Senior, a Havelock 63-0 victory, Bryant didn’t allow his starters to play in the second half. The coaches of both teams agreed to run the clock continuously in the second half.

And you could tell by Bryant’s actions and demeanor on the field when those reserves were in those games that he coached them with all the intensity and effort that he did the starters. He knows that this year’s backup players are likely next year’s starters, and to truly develop a winning program, Bryant — and no doubt coaches of other top programs in the state — will say those players need to experience game competition to improve.

In all honesty, coaches do a pretty good job of policing themselves in blowout games. After all, they’re not willing to risk the health of their star players in a 50-0 game. They also know that they can just as easily end up on the other side of such a lopsided contest.

In North Carolina, there are no provisions for a so-called “mercy rule” in football. They do exist in softball, baseball and soccer.



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