Up & Coming Weekly

October 03, 2017

Up and Coming Weekly is a weekly publication in Fayetteville, NC and Fort Bragg, NC area offering local news, views, arts, entertainment and community event and business information.

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Page 62 of 72

62 UCW OCTOBER 4 - 10, 2017 WWW.UPANDCOMINGWEEKLY.COM Coaches and players aren't the only ones who have to adjust to new rules in high school foot- ball every season. One big change this year was the blind-side blocking rule, which makes it illegal for a player to flatten someone on the opposing team who doesn't see him coming. Neil Buie, who serves as the football regional supervisor of officials for the Southeastern Athletic Officials Association, said so far there's been no major problem with enforcing the rule in this area. "I think the blindside block is more of a learn- ing curve for the officials than the targeting rule, which was put into play a couple of years ago,'' Buie said. "Targeting was a little easier to figure out.'' In targeting, a player is guilty of making a deliberate attempt to strike an opponent by mak- ing contact with the helmet. Buie said the blindside block call involves more judgement because officials not only have to see the block coming but also judge if the force used to make contact is excessive. "Every week I look at video and see some where blindside blocks that weren't called because they weren't seen or the official didn't think the force was there,'' Buie said. "It's going to be a time thing to get it right 100 percent.'' Another thing that will take time is for coaches and players to change longstanding tradition regarding the blindside block. "For so long the blindside block was something you lived for as a football player,'' Buie said. "You saw that guy that wasn't paying attention and you said here's my chance to blow this guy up. "Having to unteach that is an issue. We're seeing some evidence of it with open-handed blocks. It's a learning curve for the players and coaches as well.'' Aside from the blindside blocking rule, Buie said it's been a good year for officials so far. "The coaches and student-athletes for the most part have been very well-behaved,'' he said. "We've had very few ejections. As far as disre- spectfully addressing the officials and profan- ity, I don't recall any ejections for that so far this year. "I think the sportsmanship aspect of it is being taught by the coaches.'' Buie: Blind-side Blocking Rule a Learning Curve Challenge by EARL VAUGHAN JR. HIGH SCHOOL HIGHLIGHTS Fayetteville Could Lose Piece of Eastern Regional Tournament by EARL VAUGHAN JR. At least part of the N.C. High School Athletic Association Eastern Regional basketball tourna- ment will return to Fayetteville next year, but unless a second site can be found, some of the games may move elsewhere. Que Tucker, commissioner of the N.C. High School Athletic Association, was in Fayetteville last week along with members of her staff for the annual Region 4 meeting of the NCHSAA at the Educational Resource Center. Tucker said that Fayetteville State has again offered to host the tournament in Capel Arena, where the boys' games were held last season. But it appears unlikely that the girls' games will return to Methodist University. "Methodist was a wonderful host, but we knew going in (that) in terms of size it would present some challenges,'' Tucker said. The seating capacity of Methodist's Riddle Center is 1,300 according to the school website. That became a problem when fans from eventual girls' state champion Clinton packed the stands and wound up sitting on the floor. Tucker said the NCHSAA reached out to UNC- Pembroke as a possible second site but the recent success of the Braves' basketball team could make scheduling the regional a problem. Talks are in progress with Greenville, which was the host of the regional for years before it moved to Fayetteville. A return to the Crown Coliseum Complex in Fayetteville is unlikely, Tucker indicated, because of the cost. "We felt we couldn't do everything we needed to do when you look at some of the expenses involved,'' Tucker said. "We have to do things we feel (are) best for our membership.'' Tucker and her staff completed a tour of the western regions of the state before kicking off the east half last week in Fayetteville. She said there were no burning issues expressed at the meetings so far this year. A topic likely to come up for a vote at this December's NCHSAA Board of Directors meeting in Chapel Hill is a request by the football coaches to treat their off-season conditioning program the same as everyone else and allow them to work with a full squad. Tucker said the unique problem with football is the large number of athletes involved and the possible impact it could have on other sports that are in season. Having a large number of athletes practicing in a contact sport like football would also force the NCHSAA to have athletic trainers on site. That is a cost issue, Tucker added. "Trainers aren't going to want to be out there without getting paid,'' Tucker said. "That's a con - cern we'll have to address.'' EARL VAUGHAN JR., Sports Editor. COMMENTS? EarlUCWS- ports@gmail.com. (910) 364-6638. Que Tucker, commissioner, N.C. High School Athletic Association Neil Buie, football regional supervisor of officials, Southeastern Athletic Officials Association EARL VAUGHAN JR., Sports Editor. COMMENTS? EarlUCWS- ports@gmail.com. (910) 364-6638.

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