Football 101 – Lecture 2: Know the Rules
An interesting penalty flag was thrown in the Northwestern’s 51-19 victory over the Gaffney Indians Friday night. Charging hard around the Left Tackle, Northwestern Linebacker Gabe Gresham had his helmet unintentionally ripped off. But chock-full of adrenaline and football player instinct, Gresham continued on unabated to the Gaffney QB with no helmet. Gaffney’s Eddie Studyvance connected on a 22-yard completion before Gresham could bring him down, but a penalty was called in backfield. What was the penalty? This past year in January, the National Federation of State High School Associations approved rule 9-6-4, which states that illegal participation will be called: “for a player whose helmet comes completely off during a down to continue to participate beyond the immediate action in which the player is engaged.” So to translate: Once Gabe Gresham’s helmet came off in a separate incident from the QB rush on Studyvance, his continued play constituted “illegal participation”. The rule, according to the NFHS, is to increase player safety and limit situations such as an un-helmeted player rushing the QB. Of course, what was Gresham to do? Technically he had to stop play. This flies in the face of everything we’ve all been taught about football – play to the whistle! But any rules to increase the safety of players (and all players, not just you quarterbacks) I can get behind.
Join me next week for more Football 101, and by the way, did you download the WRHI App? If “homework” is not done by next week I’ll start giving demerits.