High school football: Felt's Facts Week 4

Published: Thursday, Sept. 6 2012 8:00 a.m. MDT

East-Jordan – To Count or Not to Count?

Time for an editorial opinion – based, of course, on facts. (The opinion expressed does not necessarily reflect that of the Deseret News.)

Guess there's a first for everything. In the history of Utah prep football before last weekend, several games have been stopped for various reasons from weather to mechanical failure to injuries. In most cases, the games were finished either within a day or two or even the same night at a nearby stadium.

In eight of those interrupted games, at least half the game had been played. In every case, the score when the interruption occurred became the final score with a win, loss or tie appropriately given to the teams involved. No games have been treated any other way.

Last Friday, two more games were cut short.

One, East vs. Jordan, was halted by a fire in an electrical box with 41 seconds remaining in the third quarter. Administrators of both schools determined it to be a "suspended" non-game game. No winner or loser.

Stranger still, the teams decided to count the stats of a game that doesn't count. That's unprecedented and a rather specious way to get stats without inflicting the pain of defeat or allowing the thrill of victory.

I'm a huge proponent of players and teams getting local and national recognition. However, counting stats and not the game result is wrong, both historically and logically.

Do these teams count the points and the touchdowns for each player and team, but not count the score? Do East and Jordan have 2-0 records, but have played three games (or really 2.75 games because of when the game was suspended)?

How are offensive yards, defensive tackles, PATs, etc., anything other than phantom numbers if the game isn't considered complete? You can't have your cake and eat it, too.

I suppose there is leeway to consider the contest a scrimmage that doesn't count and, therefore, neither do the stats. That would be unprecedented, but at least consistent.

However, this should be about the integrity of the game of football. Football is by definition a competition with winners and losers. Friday night, a competition was held, more than half the game was played, it ended because of "weather, mechanical or facility problems" per the Utah High School Activities Assn. (UHSAA) handbook, and administrators decided not to finish the game.

It should be counted as a victory for East.

In Friday's other interrupted game, lightning stopped Duchesne at West Wendover (Nev.) at halftime. Those teams counted the result and final score (33-0 for Duchesne) and can legitimately count the game stats.

By the way, on the East-Jordan issue, the UHSAA should be held harmless because East-Jordan is a non-region game with no playoff implications. The decision rests with the schools involved. The only guidance the UHSAA handbook gives is that a "tentative date for resumption of play" be set when a contest is suspended, indicating a preference, but not a requirement, that the game be resumed and finished. There's no language about how to treat unfinished games, probably because those games are rare and one like the East-Jordan case – wanting to count stats but not the result – unforeseen and unheard of.

Now that perhaps East, Jordan and possibly other readers are alienated, let's look at Week 4's usual features.

Defending Region Champs

This week, Regions 8, 9 and 11 join Classes 1A and 2A in league competition, and this season, several teams will try to extend their string of consecutive region championships. Juan Diego (begins Region 10 play Sept. 21) has won nine straight while Timpview has claimed seven in a row. Hurricane and San Juan are four-time defending region champs.