Sports Lounge.eps

The big high school sports news over the weekend didn’t happen on the Peninsula or even in the Bay Area. This story, which has none gone national, happened a six-hour drive south in Southern California. That’s where Inglewood High School hung a 106-0 loss on Morningside High School. It was a game that saw Inglewood quarterback, Justyn Martin, who announced his commitment to UCLA earlier in the week, go out to prove why he is a Division I recruit by lighting up the obviously undermanned Morningside team to the tune of 13 touchdown passes.

It was a game in which Inglewood led 59-0 after one quarter and 84-0 at halftime. And yet the Inglewood coach, Mil’Von James, decided to keep throwing and keep scoring.

Despite the outcry, the program doubled down on their bad ideas, putting out on social media a photo of the team celebrating their 106-0 win.

This is exactly what high school sports is NOT about. “Pursuing victory with honor” is the catch-phrase on which California Interscholastic Federation hangs its hat.

Inglewood did the exact opposite of that.

People who haven’t even bothered to find out what happened are quick to jump in with their hot takes.

“Well, you don’t want a team to score 100 on you? Stop them.”

“What are they supposed to do? Take a knee?”

These arguments are from clueless people who think high school, college and professional football are all the same. High school football games are rife with mismatches every year, all over the country. I would say a majority of high school coaches are in the game for the right reasons — a firm belief in eduction-based athletics — and would have a modicum of sympathy for an obviously overmatched opponent and would have done all they could to prevent such an outcome.

What could Inglewood have done? For starters, take out the starters. My understanding is they kept the first team in the entire game.

They can have a running clock earlier than the fourth quarter. Reports are James was asked to have a running clock in the second quarter and he refused until finally relenting just before halftime.

Just run the ball to kill the clock. That would have been fine. Instead, Inglewood kept throwing the ball. Even up 84-nothing, they were still winging it all around the field. The Sentinels even went for a 2-point conversion to give them 106 late in the game.

The simple fact of the matter is, Inglewood could have taken all these steps and the final score could have been the same. At least they tried not to run up the score. But the Sentinels did none of these things and they did run up the score.

Next up for Inglewood is the Southern Section playoffs, where the 9-0 Sentinels will take on 9-0 St. Bonaventure of Ventura. I can all but guarantee there will be a lot of Seraph fans this weekend.

***

Closer to home, it was a malfunctioning clock that had Menlo-Atherton coach Chris Saunders a bit frustrated.

Mostly because it was the M-A clock that was having issues during the Bears’ Senior Night win over Burlingame, 34-8, Friday.

I first noticed the clock tripping out during pre-game warmups. The first thing I noticed was the countdown would stop every few seconds and then jump ahead.

But then the clock would revert back to 20, 30 seconds prior, and continue the countdown.

I kind of shrugged my shoulders and got ready for the game.

Once the game started, the clock’s issues did not end. It finally got to the point midway through the first quarter when the officials had to tell Saunders to get the clock in line or time would be kept on the field.

While Saunders is in charge of the M-A football program, I don’t know if that extends to clock issues. As it was being addressed, Saunders turned to the three or four media members and said he had no problem with any of us calling out the clock problem.

The officials finally decided to keep time on the field and the half ended without further delay.

So what happened? One of the officials came running by early in the third quarter to give us an update, as the clock was now functioning properly in the second half. He said the wireless signal between Burlingame’s video camera and the computer used to record its games was interfering with the signal between the clock control board and the scoreboard.

Burlingame’s router (or whatever it was) was relocated, the signals were no longer crossed and the game proceeded.

Nathan Mollat can be reached by email: nathan@smdailyjournal.com or by phone: 344-5200 ext. 117. To report scores or have tips, email sports@smdailyjournal.com

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(2) comments

Ray Fowler

Hey, Nathan

Thanks for your piece on what winning in high school should really be about. I had the honor and privilege of working as an assistant high school football coach, and saw first hand how a quality head coach can teach his players leadership and sportsmanship. I coached at The Harker School. We had some good teams and a handful of standout players, e.g. Adhir Ravipati, over the years.

Back to the Inglewood game, I am one who dismisses calls for a coach's resignation unless there is something criminal afoot or kids are negligently endangered. That didn't happen in the Inglewood game. What did happen was a complete failure of head coach Mil'Von James' responsibility to act as a role model and mentor to his players. I'm sure the school's administration spoke with Coach James, but there are other things that can be done.

In 2008, while coaching at Harker, we played an undersized squad from Emery HS. Harker won 55-6 and the outcome was a forgone conclusion before the first half ended. Head Coach Karriem Stinson put in subs and just ran the ball. He instructed defensive backs to take a knee if they made an interception. Karriem chose not to run up the score.

A few years later, in 2013, the Harker program nearly folded... not enough players. Head Coach Ron Forbes had to go begging for teams to play against and actually scheduled two games against 8-man programs. Against Faith Christian Coalinga, Harker jumped out to a 21-0 first quarter lead. Ron started pulling starters and stuck with ground game. He played four different kids at the quarterback position. Final score: Harker 41 - Faith Christian 0. At the end of the game, the Faith Christian head coach asked the Harker players to join his team in a prayer circle. The Faith Christian QB... the kid sacked and chased out of the pocket all night... prayed out loud that Harker's program would get back on its feet. Wow. The kids on both sides of the ball that night night learned a lot about sportsmanship from their head coaches.

Again, that didn't happen in Inglwwood's 106-0 victory over Morningside. Coach James failed his players. The school district plans to investigate what happened at the Inglewood game and take steps from the same outcome occurring in the future. So, while Inglewood's administration and league officials may have a serious talk with Coach James, there is another voice that should be heard... the parents. Booster clubs... mostly the dads of players... don't wield the same clout that high school football fans saw in "Friday Night Lights" and "Remember the Titans." However, I am willing to wager the Inglewood booster club has a couple of very strong voices that will get Coach James' attention. Those voices should tell Coach James, "We want to win with honor," and mean it. Those parents should also insist on an apology from Coach James to Morningside.

I forwarded my comments to Inglewood's administration and Coach James. I'll let you know if I get anything other than the obligatory "Thanks for your email" in response.

willallen

This is pathetic and sums up what is wrong with our country - no regard for others. Now it is "do unto others - but do it first." Hope the Lounge stays on top of this.

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