Addition of physical play clock discussed at meetingThe addition of a physical 25-second play clock for teams in 11AA and 11AAA was one of three major discussion points at a football advisory committee meeting Tuesday by the South Dakota High School Activities Association in Pierre.
By: Luke Hagen, The Daily Republic
The addition of a physical 25-second play clock for teams in 11AA and 11AAA was one of three major discussion points at a football advisory committee meeting Tuesday by the South Dakota High School Activities Association in Pierre.
SDHSAA Assistant Executive Director John Krogstrand said the meeting had several topics discussed but only a few will move on to be discussed and submitted as proposals at the athletic directors meeting later this school year. If the ADs pass the measures, they can be finalized by the South Dakota High School Activities Association Board of Directors in a later meeting.
Other major discussion points were adding a running clock in 11A, 11B and all nine-man state championship games when a team is leading by 35 or more points in the second half, and changing scheduling during the first and second rounds of the playoffs to allow games to start earlier than 6:30 p.m. Krogstrand said the committee discussed putting the play clock in starting next season for a trial run to gauge teams’ opinions. The larger schools in the state, such as Mitchell, would use a physical clock at the back of the end zones to show the countdown after each play before a delay of game penalty would be called.
“Right now, the back judge on a five-man crew is responsible for that, and the last five seconds he counts off with a hand motion similar to a five-second count in basketball,” Krogstrand said.
The Dakota Wesleyan University football team uses the play clock at Joe Quintal, so the stadium in Mitchell is already equipped for adding a physical play clock.
Mitchell football coach Kent VanOverschelde is in favor of adding the play clock.
“In my experience, watching college football where there’s a physical play clock, you can control the tempo of the game a lot more,” he said. “That’s the biggest advantage.”
The running clock, or mercy-rule change, possibly comes on the heels of Canistota’s three straight nine-man state championships, winning by margins of 60, 66 and 44 points.
In all championship football games, there is no current mercy rule. But the proposed change will make the game clock continuously run when one team is leading by 35 or more points in the second half, whether or not a player runs out of bounds or a pass is incomplete, both of which currently stop the clock. There is already a mercy rule that all nine-man, 11A and 11B teams use during regular-season games.
“There’s not a lot of interest out there to institute a mercy rule at all in 11AA or 11AAA,” Krogstrand said.
The final major point that was discussed and will be brought to the athletic directors talks about moving playoff games earlier. Because most of the football playoffs are played during the school week, the first and second round of the playoffs cannot have game start times before 6:30 p.m., unless a stadium is a part of a doubleheader or the host team does not have lights.
“We’re thinking about changing that to allow for a little more travel time,” Krogrstand said. “Some of the second-round games this year, Wall had to come to Canistota; St. Thomas More had to play at Flandreau; Dakota Valley went to Spearfish. This would maybe help those guys out as far as getting home at a decent time and having school the next day.”