(From time to time, I’ll share with you my thoughts of a being football mom during this most wonderful time of year.)
I spend most nights and every Saturday at the football field this time of year. My son is a 7th grader who plays for a local rec league. At times, this can create challenges for the football lover in me.
Case in point, last Saturday night, our team, The Cougars, was playing The Panthers (I know, right?) A couple of things made this the potential for a great game:
1) We were playing under the lights, pulling the coveted, cooler, night time game slot. (if you’ve spent early October in any part of the Southeast, you know what I’m talking about.)
2) We were 1-2 going into a game against an 0-3 team.
3) Our head coach was out of town. He’s a great guy, but, um, a little stuck in his ways. This gave the Offensive & Defensive coaches a chance to run some plays that would have otherwise been reserved for practice time only.
4) We got our clocks cleaned the weekend prior, and the team, families and fans were ready for a big win.
It was set up to be a great game, and it was! The first half was played brilliantly, in my opinion (despite the fact that I almost missed it because my head was buried in my phone frantically searching for UGA-TN updates. But that’s a story for another day).
The Cougars were winning handily 20-0 at the half. Since Marshall Morgan cemented my Dawg’s win in OT, I was now ready to focus on the game right in front of me.
And that’s when things started to look a little shaky. Maybe there was something in the sports drink they served during their half time break, but our boys got sloppy. A series of defensive penalties had has marching down the field… in the wrong direction. I like to call this the “walk of shame.”
Now, in rec games, middle school games, and many high school games, you are on your own to decipher the refs’ calls. There’s no announcer, no replays, no “rewind that, I didn’t hear what he said!” Sometimes you don’t even know what the penalty is until you see them move the ball 5, 10 or even 15 yards!
We won the game in the end, but a few of those calls had me scratching my head. This might be a good time for review!!
5 yard penalties:
- Encroachment: When a defensive player crosses the line of scrimmage and makes contact with an opponent before the ball is snapped.
- False start: When an interior lineman on the offensive team moves prior to the snap of the ball, or when any offensive player makes a quick, abrupt movement prior to the snap of the ball.
- Holding (defensive): When a defensive player tackles or holds an offensive player other than the ball carrier. The penalty is 5 yards and an automatic first down.
- Offside: When any part of a player’s body is beyond the line of scrimmage or free kick line when the ball is put into play.
10 yard penalties:
- Holding (offensive): When an offensive player uses his hands, arms, or other parts of his body to prevent a defensive player from tackling the ball carrier.
15 yard penalties:
- Pass interference: A judgment call made by an official who sees a defensive player make contact with the intended receiver before the ball arrives, thus restricting his opportunity to catch the forward pass. In the NFL, this penalty awards the offensive team the ball at the spot of the foul with an automatic first down. In college, pass interference is a 15-yard penalty and an automatic first down.
- Personal foul: An illegal, flagrant foul considered risky to the health of another player.
- Roughing the kicker: When a defensive player makes any contact with the punter, provided the defensive player hasn’t touched the kicked ball before contact. This is a 15-yard penalty and an automatic first down.
- Roughing the passer: When a defensive player makes direct contact with the quarterback after the quarterback has released the ball. This is a 15-yard penalty and an automatic first down.
(source football penalties for dummies)
I’ll be sure to review these again before next week’s game. We are playing The Bulldogs under the lights next Saturday. Fortunately, Georgia plays at noon, and even with OT, that game will be wrapped will before 7 pm.
It would be ill advised to call out a “Go Dawgs” during the wrong game!