Running Up The Score Should Never Be An Option

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There's a brew haw occurring in football coaching circles regarding one of the most distasteful acts a coach can do to another team -- run up the score.


The controversy swirls around last Friday evenings Class 5A state playoff game between coach Jim Rattay's Desert Vista Thunder and Mesa Red Mountain which features former Payson resident Matt Porr as one of its star receivers.


It seems undefeated and top-ranked Desert Vista had a 17-0 lead and the ball at Red Mountain's 5-yard line with just 10 ticks of the clock remaining to be played.


Most any good coach in the state in that position would have his quarterback take a knee and end the game.


It's the decent thing to do, it's what high school football should be all about -- sportsmanship.


But according to reports coming out of Mesa, the Thunder called time, and quarterback John Rattay -- the coach's son -- threw a touchdown pass in the waning moments to increase the victory margin to 24-0.


Red Mountain coach Jim Jones, a veteran of 26 years of coaching, was livid and confronted Rattay after the game.


Words were said that can't be written in a family newspaper.


Rattay's actions have raised the ire of coaches around the state who are questioning why a supposedly respected coach would stoop to such tactics.

Actions 'reprehensible'

Some say there is no defense for Rattay's decision.


A newspaper columnist in Mesa who covers Valley prep football declared the coach's actions "reprehensible."


I posed the question to Payson High coach Jim Beall: "What would you do if your team was leading 17-0 and you had the ball at your opponents five-yard line and 10 seconds remaining?"


Without much hesitation he replied, "Put a knee down."


It remains to be seen whether Rattay will be censored by Don Wilkinson, the athletic director at Tempe Union High School District, but so far there's been no apology from the coach or other officials at Desert Vista.


About 15 years ago, on a Thursday evening on the Payson High School football field, a situation very similar to what happened between Red Mountain and Desert Vista occurred.


With his team leading by two touchdowns after a well-played, hard-fought game, a Snowflake jayvee coach decided to pour it on against Payson and up the victory margin.


Following the game, words were said and emotions were heated between coaches of the two teams. The controversy carried over the following evening when the varsity teams met in Snowflake.


That kind of ugliness is never erased from the minds of coaches or the players.


Running up the score is simply not an option in high school sports.

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