Copyright 2014 Valley News
Valley News (White River Junction, Vermont)
White River Junction - The coaches and athletic directors of the Vermont Interscholastic Football League on Monday agreed they were not happy with some of its member schools as well as the current film exchange program.
At the VIFL spring meeting at Hartford High School, the group decided it couldn't do a whole lot to force the schools to send a representative, but there was action taken on the sharing of game films.
There are 34 football playing schools in Vermont, but 11 of those schools failed to send anybody to the meeting.
"If there were extenuating circumstances, I would understand," said VIFL executive secretary Bob Hingston, the athletic director at Windsor High. "But I don't think that's the case today. This is the poorest attendance we have ever had."
Rutland High School athletic director and football coach Mike Norman suggested that maybe the absent teams could be fined. There was also some discussion about denying coaches a vote during the selection of all-star teams.
"We need reputable people in this group," said Norman.
Hingston added that most schools not only have a head football coach, but three or four assistants and an athletic director as well. "You would think they could send somebody," Hingston added.
What took up most of the meeting was the discussion of film exchanges, which have been without an enforceable policy.
"I've been coaching football all over the place since 1982," said Brattleboro football coach Jon Callahan. "It's time to take football serious in this state."
St. Johnsbury's Sean Alercio was a leader in trying to get the group to set a policy of forcing teams to make sure that the school they are playing next gets the past two weeks of game films by the Thursday before a scheduled contest. That brought on a lengthy discussion about sideline filming,zone filming and quality of the filming.
"We need to have sideline filming in order to determine down and distance," said Alercio.
Eventually, the group voted in the positive on sideline filming and mailing the two previous games to the next opponent by Thursday of game week. If the mailing accommodations were not met, then it would be up to the athletic directors to drive the DVDs to the next opponent's school.
Three new rule changes also brought some discussion. Teams will no longer be able to target the opposition, vulnerable players will be protected and there is an additional punishment for roughing the passer.
In the past, roughing the passer brought a 15-yard penalty. It will still be that, but now it will come with an automatic first down. The officials will also be looking for players who target a foe and hit him with the helmet above the shoulders. Players who are in a vulnerable position - who don't see an opponent coming - will also be protected. Fifteen-yard penalties will be assessed in each situation.
Also, kickoff teams that used to line up with most of the players on one side of the field, particularly on onside kicks, will no long be able to do so. Starting in the fall, there must be at least four players on each side of the kicker.
Among the coaches of the year who were recognized was Woodstock's Ramsey Worrell for winning the Division III honor.
Representatives of the Northeast Sports Network told the group that they hope to broadcast every high school football game this fall on the Internet.