Possibly Coming to a Texas High-School Football Field Near You: Only One Full-Contact Practice Per Week

Coaches loooovvveeee State Representative Eddie Lucio III's concussion safety bill.
Last Thursday, State Representative Eddie Lucio III, a Democrat from Brownsville, filed House Bill 887. If enacted, the law would limit middle-school and high-school football programs to one full-contact practice per week.

"Like most people, I'm influenced by the stories I read and the news I see...and how little we're doing," says Lucio about the bill that's similar to the Ivy League rule that limits full-contact practices to twice a week, which is three less than the NCAA permits.

How do some Texas high-school football coaches feel? Really happy and super stoked. (Actually, not at all.)

More »

Notre Dame Football Recruit "Catfishes" Himself In Lie About A Campus Visit

Sometimes the sports gods have a sense of humor. For example, a player named Nomar Garciaparra (and the multiple "ar" sounds in his name) landing in Boston, with the natives' ridiculous accent, is funny to me.

Sometimes the sports gods are cruel. Refer to the entire sports history of the city of Cleveland for more information on this.

And sometimes the sports gods have a cruel sense of humor.

Meet Stanley Williams, a blue chip, high school running back in the state of Georgia.

More »

2012: The Year in Zapruder, a Recap of My Detailed Video Recaps

Like this but with more mayhem...and some sports.
I'm not sure when it happened, but somewhere along the line in 2012, the Zapruder-style analysis of viral videos became my thing.

Much like you'd go to Clay Travis on SEC football or to Peter King's Monday Morning Quarterback for the weekend that was in the NFL, when you the reader needed hardcore detailed analysis of a naked redneck on meth interrupting a high school football game, I became your guy.

And I love you for that.

I love you so much that I want you to have all of my Zapruder analyses from 2012 in one convenient nook of the internet. So without further ado, I give you the Year in Zapruder 2012!

More »

Zapruder Analysis of Shirtless Guy (Presumably) on Bath Salts Wandering onto Football Field

A team effort
Most of the time, when fans inject themselves into a sporting event by trespassing onto the field, the motives are pretty clear. The perpetrator either (a) is looking to wind up on television, (b) trying to steal a memento of some sort (ball, piece of turf, etc.), or (c) responding to a drunken dare from his buddies.

At a high school football game between Colfax and Placer in California this past weekend, we saw an example of a trespassing fan that fell into that other small sliver of the spectrum:

(d) whacked out on bath salts

Courtesy of Forbes.com, here are the details with video and Zapruder analysis (you're welcome!) to follow:

More »

Carthage, Texas, Hometown of Bernie, Now Gets Fanciest High School Football Scoreboard in the World

carthage jumbo.jpg
Courtesy Carthage High School
Artist's rendering of the soon-to-be-completed beast. Note delusion of grandeur on score.
Score another coup for the newly famous East Texas town of Carthage: the town Richard Linklater, Jack Black and Sonny Carl Davis put on the map for its eccentric views on punishing murderers now has scoreboard on the entire state -- nay, the whole entire world of high school athletics. Literally.

Workers are currently putting the finishing touches on a 2,500 square-foot, 24-ton behemoth of a Jumbotron at the town's high school football stadium. The video screen alone is 1,200 square feet, weighs five tons and sparkles with the gleam of 775,000 Friday night LED lights. (While it is the largest video screen in Texas high school football, the largest overall scoreboard is at Allen High School, whose 6,000-person student body is double the enrollment of Carthage's entire school district, and almost equal to Carthage's overall population of 6,779.)

More »

Longhorn Panic: Sealy WR Ricky Seals-Jones Decommits

Freaking out in Austin.
It wouldn't be June if we didn't have some sort of off-the-field drama to worry about with our college football. And since the realignment talk this summer is at a dull roar at best, and since the resolution of a college football playoff is still several weeks away, how about a little recruiting angst?

We all know that college football fans follow the collegiate futures of football recruits closer than they do the futures of their own children. It's an illness that, at one time or another, any alum or fan of a big-time school has suffered from.

If you have been afflicted, you know it. No need to say it out loud, just admit it to yourself.

More »

Oh Yeah, and the Cougars Win Back the Bayou Bucket

Photo by Aaron Sprecher
Just another record-breaking night for the Cougars.
Check out our slideshow of last night's rainy Bayou Bucket game.

Houston's Tyron Carrier took the opening kickoff 100 yards for the touchdown to quickly put the Cougars up 7-0. Then the rain hit and the Rice Owls came out in the wildcat offense, with Turner Petersen and Tyler Smith running the ball up the middle of the UH offense. Rice was up 17-7 by the time rain stopped, and they appeared to be up by that score when the first quarter ended.

But a pass interference penalty was called on Rice, giving the Cougars one last play in the first quarter. And Case Keenum located Patrick Edwards speeding away from Rice's Bryce Callahan and the score was 17-14 Rice. Rice got one more field goal to lead 20-14. But by the time the half rolled around, the Cougars were up 38-20 and the question wasn't whether the Cougars would hold on to win the game. The question was just how badly the Coogs would kick Rice's ass.

The answer was bad, very badly. In as the Cougars had a record-breaking night. Keenum set the NCAA record for career TD passes on Houston's first possession of the third quarter. Carrier's opening kickoff return tied the NCAA record for TDs on kickoff returns, and Carrier set the team's career record for receptions. Edwards set his career-high with five TD receptions, and he tied the UH record for career-touchdown receptions of 34 (tied Elmo Wright). Keenum set his career record with nine TDs in a game (tying David Klingler for second place). And that was all before the fourth quarter got under way, with the Cougars up 66-34 in a game they would win 73-34.

More »

Another Young Athlete Dies From Apparent Head Trauma (Update)

Last week, Derek Sheely, a fullback for Frostburg State University (Maryland), lost consciousness during an ordinary drill in football practice. Less than a week later, the 22-year-old passed away due to head trauma suffered in the sport, according to his father, who spoke to The New York Times.

As explored in our "Knocked Out" cover story, concussions can be much more catastrophic for participants in youth sports compared to adult athletes.

In 2004, Denver-area teen Jake Snakenberg collapsed and died after hitting his head in football twice within a week. In 2008, high school football linebacker Ryne Dougherty fell into a coma and died after sustaining his second blow to the head in a month.

More »

Concussions: Avoidance, Protection and Better Helmets

Daniel Kramer
Justin Landers, head athletic trainer at Katy High School, leads me to a secret stash of football equipment. The attic-like room, which is only accessible by one skinny wood ladder, is floor to ceiling and wall to wall with hundreds of helmets and shoulder pads.

Landers combs through the well-organized racks of white helmets and pulls out several that were worn by Tiger players in the 1980s and 1990s. Later in a downstairs meeting room, Landers, the son of a helmet salesman, lays out these antiquated brain protectors alongside the just-received Riddell Revolution Speed headgear. The differences are noticeable by look and -- after trying on several -- feel.

I'm here as part of my research for this week's feature "Knocked Out," in which fellow Village Voice Media reporter Gus Garcia-Roberts from Miami and I looked at the effect of concussions on young athletes.

More »

Texas School Buying "Smurf Turf" Football Field; Superintendent Speaks to Criticisms

"Smurf turf" is coming to Canutillo High.
West Texas's Canutillo Independent School District hasn't been bringing in much green of late, so they've decided to sing the $350,000 blues.

Last week, the CISD Board of Trustees approved the installation of a "smurf turf" field that will replace, for "student safety reasons," a green artificial playing surface.

Located approximately 15 miles northwest of El Paso, the town of Canutillo (with an estimated population of 5,500) and its Eagles, who compete in the large 4A division, will boast the only blue football field in West Texas. (Hidalgo High, located near McAllen, currently boasts a navy surface while New Braunfels's Canyon High competes on a neon red pitch.) Playing on a run-of-the-mill green field, last year's Canutillo team finished with a 7-4 record.

More »