Just the sight of that score in a high school football game can cause all kinds of thoughts.
Some could be awful, unacceptable and sad.
Am I close?
That was the score of the Fort Bragg-Willits game on Friday Night.
Before getting to that game, let’s go back a week.
If you read my Honor Roll last week you saw that Fort Bragg quarterback Kaylor Sullivan was on it. He passed for 500 yards, so of course he would make the list. There was a “but” added in his selection. That is because he threw a touchdown pass in the fourth quarter of a 57-24 win over Kelseyville.
That did get some reaction from the Fort Bragg area. It was the first time that I realized we had readers in Fort Bragg, so welcome. One solid point was that it was a 24 point game early in the fourth quarter. Losing a lead like that wasn’t likely, but I did see that point. Did you notice the Raider game this past Sunday? They had a 24 point lead midway through the fourth quarter and won by eight.
Via email I also heard from Fort Bragg head coach Ray Perkins. While complimenting my work, he wanted to connect to explain the risk of running out of the clock.
That e-mail was before the 81-0 score.
Because of my schedule I was not sure a talk with Perkins was in the cards. Besides a confrontation kind of phone call isn’t what I have in mind covering high school football. I don’t want to be known as the Lowell Cohn of high school football. We did connect on Sunday and it wasn’t close to confrontational. It was a talk and nothing more.
We did talk briefly about the Kelseyville game. I was satisfied with the 24 point different reason and Perkins did mention some other points, which made some sense.
But all of that was like the preliminary before the main event about the Willits game.
It should be pointed out the Press Democrat box score on Saturday was wrong. It said Sullivan threw a touchdown pass in the fourth quarter. Fort Bragg didn’t score in the fourth quarter and Sullivan didn’t play. In fact, Fort Bragg had the ball three times, ran 12 plays, which were all in the victory formation. That means they took a snap and kneeled down.
Sullivan did throw two touchdowns and ran for another in the third quarter. That was after Fort Bragg scored 53 points in the second quarter to take a 60-0 halftime lead. Did they need Sullivan in the third quarter? My answer would be no and to win the game obviously they didn’t.
Perkins said that as a coach he has to put his team in the best position to win. He wasn’t talking about that game, but future games coming up, like the one this Friday at St. Helena. Fort Bragg runs what is the equivalent of a fast break offense, which is hard to duplicate in practice. So they need to get reps in a game.
In my view, it is hard to understand anything happening in the second half of this game will have any bearing on this week’s St. Helena game, or any other they might play in the future. I don’t care what the games odds are, a team goes into a game thinking they have a chance to win, no matter how remote it might be. Once that hope goes out of the window, especially in football, a team is tired of getting hit and ready to go home.
If the reps are that important, you would tell your players to go down before scoring. If there would have been no scoring in the second half and the final was 60-0, this game wouldn’t have gotten nearly as much notice, except for the wow factor of scoring 53 points in a quarter. There are so many games with that kind of score, it would have looked normal.
There is also the risk of Sullivan getting hurt. Last season, Sullivan passed for over 3,000 yards and 29 touchdowns, numbers he has passed this season. Last season he did it in eight plus games because in Game 9 he was injured and missed the rest of the season.
The starting quarterback the rest of the season was Lucas Triplett, who up until Sullivan’s injury was the team’s leading receiver. So not only did that injury cost them their starting quarterback, it cost them the No. 1 wide receiver. It also probably cost them a longer run in the playoffs. Fort Bragg, who on the season averaged over 30 points a game, lost its opening round game to Moreau Catholic 26-7.
This does leads to another “but”. This “but” is in Fort Bragg’s favorite, which will make them 1-1 the past two weeks. Perkins has been coaching for 35 years. That is 35 more years than me.
Perkins understands that this score got notice and it doesn’t look very good. He also knows that this is looked at as a reaction to the JV game before it, which was won by Willits 84-26. Perkins said although he wasn’t happy with how that game played out at the end, Willits JV going for two points after the last touchdown for example, that didn’t have a bearing on the Varsity game. Both teams ended on good terms and shook at the end of the game, which didn’t happen at the end of the SRJC-CCSF game.
If I was a leader of these schools, I would be talking to both coaching staffs and saying, “This can’t happen again.”
All in all, it was a forgettable night of high school football at Willits.
No. 1 Cardinal Newman (6-2) (Last Week No. 1)…Went up to Ukiah and did what they were supposed to do. It looks like a choice between them and Marin Catholic for the No. 1 seed in Division 4.
No. 2 Analy (8-0) (2)…Continues to run through the SCL. Next up they go to Elsie Allen, before league championship game with Petaluma.
No. 3 St. Helena (8-0) (3)…Unfortunate forfeit prepares them for showdown game with Fort Bragg this week.
No. 4 Fort Bragg (8-0) (4)…Unfortunate game prepares them for showdown game with St. Helena this week. Early Cal Preps projection: St. Helena by 3.
No. 5 Petaluma (7-2) (6)…Seven game winning streak and a week off to prepare for Analy. Outside one game, Petaluma has controlled its SCL schedule much like Analy.
No. 6 Maria Carrillo (5-3) (7)…Another close one to make it four wins in the last five games. A win over Windsor should assure a first round home playoff game.
No. 7 Rancho Cotate (5-3) (8)…Big fourth quarter to pull away from Windsor. They are battling Analy for the Division 3 No. 2 seed.
No. 8 Windsor (5-3) (5)…Was seven down to Rancho Cotate going into the fourth quarter before running out of gas. Has a tough finish to schedule and needs wins to get home playoff game.
No. 9 Cloverdale (7-1) (9)…Hanging around NCL I race. End season with game at Fort Bragg.
No. 10 Piner (4-4) (10)…Has favorable schedule to sneak into the Division 3 playoffs.
No 1 Cardinal Newman (Last Week No. 1)…Division 4, No. 2
No. 2 Rancho Cotate (3)…Division 3, No. 2
No. 3 Analy (2)…Division 3, No. 3
No. 4 St. Helena (4)…Division 4 No. 7
No. 5 Maria Carrillo (5)…Division 2 No. 5
No. 6 Fort Bragg (8)…Division 4 No. 10
No. 7 Windsor (6)…Division 2 No. 8
No. 8 Casa Grande (7)…Division 2 No. 9
No. 9 Cloverdale (9)…Division 5, No. 4
No. 10 Petaluma (10)…Division 3 No. 8
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RANKINGS AND 81-0