By David Tesitor, Sports Editor
While this is the opinion of this sports editor, I believe it expresses the sentiment of many fans, players and coaches concerning the practice of certain coaches who believe running up the score against teams of lesser quality is acceptable.
The John Mall Lady Panthers fell victim to the Swink Lions last weekend by the score of 58-13. While it is a fact the Lady Lions are a good team, they find ways to win, and win big. The score could have been even more lopsided, however the Colorado High School Activities Association implemented a new mercy rule for the 2017-18 season. The rule states that if a team has a 45 point lead after the third quarter, there is to be a running clock, only to be stopped for time outs and injuries.
What made the Swink Lions look more like jackals was that, after building up a 34 point half time lead by running a full court press and simply dominated the Panthers, they continued to play their starters throughout the third quarter and half way into the fourth when they held a 50 point lead. Clearly, there was no chance for a comeback victory by the Panthers.
With a comfortable lead, most coaches would not run up the score. Swink clearly wanted to build their stats. When an opponent scores four straight points in the fourth quarter and the coach pulls the subs to put in their starting point guard, all respect goes out the window.
Now, I am biased because I tend to root for the local team. However, Swink pulled the same game plan against Hoehne earlier in the season, trouncing the Farmers 52-18. The night following the John Mall drubbing, they defeated Swallows 56-10. Their actions showed a shameful lack of sportsmanship. They are ranked 10 in the state, but when the RPI rankings come out next week their margin of victory against unranked teams will likely hurt them more than it will help.
They are not the only team pulling these shenanigans. Ignacio, the number one team, has won four of their five games by more than 50 points and kept their starters in so they can gather statistics. While they’re good teams who score a lot of points, the 45 point rule is rare because most coaches do not need to prove their superiority by being the bully on the playground.
This leads me wonder, just how many times were they beat up in the schoolyard as kids?