Your Kid’s Not Going Pro

A Youth Sports Blog

Driscoll Middle School coaches: You’re assholes

with 3 comments

Maybe in their spare time, Corpus Christi (Texas) Driscoll Middle School football coaches Art Rodriguez and John Delosantos shelter the homeless, wash invalids and allow people to cut in front of them on the highway with nary a middle finger to be thrown. But for this oft-seen play, I hereby declare that for practicing it and calling it, Art Rodriguez and John Delosantos, for youth sports purposes, are assholes.

I know that raining on the publicity parade that has come to these coaches and their team makes me sound like I have a sphincter tight enough to crap diamonds, but so be it. Trickery in the spirit of the rules is one thing. But Driscoll’s “Penalty Play” is an abomination and only serves to teach kids that winning by any means necessary is the most important thing. What’s worse is that Rodriguez and Delosantos are becoming atta-boy national celebrities for their not-quite-dirty play.

Rodriguez told the New York Daily News, not normally on the Corpus Christi youth football beat: “This has been one of the highlights [of my 31-year] career.” How sad for you.

Driscoll’s “Penalty Play” works like this: after a penalty, the quarterback tells his center he’s marking off five more yards. The center hands him the ball (not snapping it, but also not moving any other part of his body, or else it’s a false start). The quarterback marches along, and one he walks past the defense, he sprints to the end zone. It turns out that was Driscoll’s only score in a 6-6 game.

My objection is this.

It’s one thing to have a trick play that is something resembling football. Youth football coach and expert Dave Cisar might have retrograde views toward girls and his sport, but there’s nothing wrong his retrograde embrace of the modern trickery of the ancient single-wing offense. He’s teaching football, and his players are developing football skills — as are the players trying to stop his team.

But what Driscoll pulled isn’t football. It’s crap. Technically, it all was legal, and I hope, given their lack of reaction, that the refs were clued in on the play beforehand. (I thought the ref standing in front of the coaches might have turned around to tell them not to tell their kid to march off the penalty.) The play was grown men taking advantage of kids who are still developing a football IQ. It was the football equivalent of the coaches sending their players out to sucker kids out of their Halloween candy.

So if that makes me a sourpuss, a sourpuss I am. I’m sure, off the field, they’re good people. But on the field, they sure look like assholes.

Written by rkcookjr

November 8, 2010 at 8:21 pm

3 Responses

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  1. Bob,

    This play is illegal under NFHS rules. I believe that all states except two play under NFHS rules. Texas plays under NCAA rules so there may be a difference but I’m not sure.

    Below is a similar play and associated comment from the NFHS case book.

    *9.9.1 SITUATION B: From a field goal formation, potential kicker A1 yells,
    “Where’s the tee?” A2 replies, “I’ll go get it” and goes legally in motion toward
    his team’s sideline. Ball is snapped to A1 who throws a touchdown pass to A2.

    RULING: Unsportsmanlike conduct prior to snap. The ball should be declared
    dead and the foul enforced as a dead-ball foul.

    COMMENT: Football has been and
    always will be a game of deception and trickery involving multiple shifts, unusual
    formations and creative plays. However, actions or verbiage designed to confuse
    the defense into believing there is problem and a snap isn’t imminent is
    beyond the scope of sportsmanship and is illegal.

    Chad Riley

    November 9, 2010 at 12:46 pm

  2. Chad — Thanks for the insight. I just looked at NCAA rules, and I don’t see anything that would explicitly prohibit this play. However, it could be covered by this unsportsmanlike conduct rule, which I got from here:

    “An obviously unfair act not specifically covered by the rules occurs during the game.”

    A quarterback pretending to mark off additional penalty yardage certainly could qualify.


    November 9, 2010 at 1:06 pm

  3. Great post – I am glad that someone agrees with me. This play was a bush league play.

    Stats Dad

    November 10, 2010 at 10:39 pm

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