Local Coaches Don't Agree on Running Up Score Issue

Last Saturday on the high school football stage, the GISA-A Westwood Wildcats scored 80 points in a shut-out win over Randolph Southern.

Westwood played their second and third stringers in the second half, and Wildcats head coach Ross Worsham said the 80-point outburst was not intentional. But it's a struggle for every high school coach that doesn't seem to go away. Where is the line between running up the score and sportsmanship?

Almost every coach has been through it- on both sides of the spectrum. But what does it mean to run up the score?

"I think each situation is different and you can't always look at the score and see...they ran it up or what exactly happened," Lee County head football coach Dean Fabrizio said.

"I don't care what level it actually is...that's still a competitor on the other side and there's a thing called sportsmanship," Dougherty football coach Jesse Hicks said.

A variety of high school coaches provided a variety of explanations. However, no one could provide a black and white answer to the debate- just many shades of gray.

"Nobody wants to embarrass anybody and it comes to a point where you just have to try and make a judgment on your own behalf," Deerfield-Windsor head coach Allen Lowe said.

The Deerfield-Windsor coach has witnessed the good and bad in his 11 years as the Knights coach. As a two-time state champion, Lowe's experiences have been mostly good, so the coach has used some unconventional methods to prevent his team from lighting up the scoreboard.

"I've had some situations where we've hit a knee right at the end of the half or different thingsâ|but at the same time it's a matter of trying to find that balance," Lowe said.

Fabrizio expects his back-ups to play well during any situation, but knows when to mentally pump the brakes during a blow-out.

"Sometimes when you put your two's and three's in there you want to let them play, but by the same token I think most if not all coaches adjust their plan," Fabrizio said.

"If you're going to work on things you do that in practice, you don't do that at the expense of another football program. My kids getting beat 60-0- how do you think he feels when he gets home?" Hicks said.

There is one sure thing in every coach's struggle for sportsmanship. However high the scoreboard number's get, it better not change the effort on the field.

"One thing I tell the kids I don't care who's playing, I don't care the score, I want you to play hard- don't ever take a play off," Lowe said.

"I think it's our job to stop them, if they hang a big number on usâ|they hang a big number on us," Fabrizio said,

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