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A ninth football game that never ended

Williamsville South, which lost to Grand Island in last weekend's Class A semifinals, and West Seneca East, which also lost in the semifinals at Iroquois, played a ninth game Thursday night with South winning, 48-28, at East.

Here's our Web story (one which, by the way, has more information about this weekend as well as Thursday night's games than we could fit in the paper):

A few things:

* Any issues I have with what happened in this game have nothing to do with Joe Licata, who is a fabulous student-athlete, and, from my few interactions I've had with him in the course of doing my job, he seems to be a great young man. The kid is a great player and that's why colleges are after him. He throws touchdowns. That's his job. That's what he does. 

* The reason the Will South game is at the end of our story is because the record was set in a ninth game.  The statistics are certainly legitimate. The games are a chance for schools to play more football, and I'm in favor of them. But I think everyone would agree that these games certainly fall under a different category than a regular season game. 

* Maybe the ninth-week thing is part of what is giving me a not-so-great feeling in my gut.

Just because it's not the regular season anymore it doesn't mean sportsmanship has to get thrown out the window.

First and foremost: These games are supposed to be a good thing, giving teams another opportunity to play and programs a chance to grow long-term. The games are not supposed to be called with 50 seconds left due to unsportsmanlike conduct.

In another ninth-week game that was called in, the coach reporting the game struggled to find a name of the kicker of a late touchdown because the regular kicker for a team had been kicked out of the game.

Then there's South throwing the ball for a touchdown with less than a minute to play when it had the game won, and how that touchdown was a sixth passing TD of the game that went into the books as a Western New York record-breaker.

Any box score from any point of the season that included a passing touchdown with 50 seconds left would raise my eyebrows. I've called out teams before for passing with big leads in the fourth quarter. Maybe it's me.

I had an interesting discussion with some very trusted, very intelligent sports copy editors at work and they had no problem with the late touchdown. It was only a 14-point game, not a 40-point game, they said. Let them go for the record, they said. 

What do you think they should have done, my coworkers asked. I suppose I think that with a 14-point lead and less than a minute to play in the game, South should have been running the ball, first game or ninth game, first down or fourth down, record or no record.

But I certainly could be wrong, and there's a space below where I'm sure some people will tell me so.

---Keith McShea


High school football | West Seneca East | Williamsville South
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About Prep Talk

Keith McShea

Keith McShea

Keith McShea has covered high school sports at The News since his hiring in 1999. The 1995 University at Buffalo graduate and Long Island native (North Babylon Bulldogs) covers — and live blogs — everything from scrimmages to state championships & helps head The News' All-Western New York selections.

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