I really don’t like the high school overtime rule. Teams, alternating possessions, get the ball at the 10-yard line with four downs. You keep playing until one team wins.
Ten yards is just too short, and it leads to coaches – more often than not – deciding to not play for OT.
It happened Friday at the end of the best game I’ve seen this year: Independence’s thrilling 34-33 come-from-behind win at Rocky River.
Independence got the ball with about 85 seconds left, at its 7. The game was tied. The Patriots, who had struggled with one of the fastest teams I’ve seen all year, just flew down the field like champions. Independence scored with 26 seconds left and celebrated wildly.
Rocky River then got a brilliant kick return from Sidney Lawson and started its next drive at the Independence 48.
You couldn’t hear yourself speak.
Rocky River drove down the field and scored with 5.7 seconds left.
Rocky River coach Jason Fowler said he never debated whether to go for two. Independence coach Bill Geiler said he would’ve done the same thing. Rocky River tried a pass that was incomplete. Rocky River lost.
I couldn’t help but wonder if OT was played more like college – four downs from the 25 – if coaches would think differently about their go-for-it strategy?
I do know that 10 yards in overtime is too short – way, way too short.
• Quick note about Lawson: Mecklenburg County is chock full of great defensive backs this year, guys like Channing Stribling (Michigan recruit) at Butler, Jack Tocho (N.C. State) at Independence and Bryon Fields at Providence Day. But Lawson is as good as I’ve seen. He’s also the fastest player I’ve seen all year. He has this sudden burst of speed that takes your breath away. I’d like to see him on offense more.
• One final Rocky River thought: I counted 25 underclassmen on the roster and the Ravens have good enough size and speed in great abundance. The future for coach Fowler’s team appears bright, and I’m not just talking about next year. Friday night, I think Rocky River proved it could play with the big boys. In the playoffs, this is not a team a state power wants to play in Round 1 or 2.
• East Lincoln quarterback Garrett Young spent the past two weeks rehabbing a dislocated kneecap after thinking about season-ending surgery. He made a surprise and triumphant return in Friday’s 35-21 win at previously unbeaten Lake Norman Charter, spoiling the Knights’ bid for the biggest win in school history.
Young threw for 148 yards and two touchdowns. But more importantly, East Lincoln’s defense shut down a unit averaging nearly 50 points per game. Lake Norman Charter star Alex Scearce had 32 yards rushing and one catch for 25 yards. If Young can stay healthy and get back to his 300-yards-per-game production, East Lincoln is a definite threat for a Class 2A state title.