Celebrating goes beyond moral limit in South Tahoe
What’s happened to Northern Nevada League 4A high school football? There’s a coach who enjoys running up the scores at the expense of players’ feelings, and players who excessively celebrate touchdowns and quarterback sacks.
But that’s mild compared to what unfolded Saturday afternoon at South Tahoe High School: 16-and 17-year-old football players unabashedly rejoicing over an opposing players’ injury.
What has happened in our society that athletes are compelled to rub an opponent’s nose in defeat or misfortune?
In case you haven’t heard, here are the ugly details. On the Vikings’ first offensive series, star tailback Bryan Bough was upended by Carson’s 270-pound defensive tackle Paul Glass, causing a slight tear of the AC joint in Bough’s right shoulder.
As team trainers attended to a writhing Bough, the Carson sideline erupted as if they were cheering the stage presence of Motley Crue.
Afterward, Carson coach Bob Bateman told a Reno newspaper that his Senators were cheering the defensive play. Bob, it was only second down and Bough did gain two yards.
Furthermore, Viking team trainer Lisa Jaureguito recalls the celebration happening after the team physician was summoned.
“I was mortified. It had nothing to do with the play. Here was someone sobbing and in obvious pain that we were trying to settle down, and they were yelling obscenities at him. When it was obvious that he wasn’t getting up, that’s when they started cheering,” said Jaureguito, who has served as a trainer at the high school and collegiate level for 13 years.
Phone calls to Bateman on Monday were not returned. However, Carson Athletic Director Tom Andreasen, who was in attendance, feels the emotionally charged players were reacting to setting the tone in a big football game.
“They were so fired up for the game, with a score being on the scoreboard and just stopping the (second play). I don’t think the kids realized he was hurt,” Andreasen said. “We hate to see any kid hurt, especially when it’s a top-notch player like that, it’s a shame. I hope he gets back quickly.”
Bough, who is no taller than Henry “The Fonz” Winkler, returned for two more plays – one of which ended with the Senators being flagged for a late hit. On the basis of those two plays, Carson obviously didn’t want Bough in the ball game.
They knew their chances of beating the Vikings with Bough in the lineup were slim. But to deface themselves and the game by cheering his demise demonstrates poor sportsmanship and a coaching staff that needs to be reprimanded.
“That was the most disappointing thing I’ve seen in high school football in a long time, and I don’t agree with it,” said Viking 10-year coach Tim Jaureguito, who has also coached at Lowry and several colleges.
Bough’s father, Gary, feels the Senators were playing “Buddy Bowl” with his son, offering a bounty to knock his son out of the game. Former Philadelphia Eagles coach Buddy Ryan was renown for tendering bounties on Dallas Cowboys during his heated rivalry with Jimmy Johnson in the early 1990s.
“I’m pretty bitter about it. It was bounty time, that’s what I think it was,” Gary Bough said. “My problem with that is that’s not what high school football is about. Tough football is one thing but trying to take a player out because he’s a good player, you don’t even see that in the NFL anymore. You don’t have to hurt people to win a game.”
Jaureguito elected not to broach the incident with Bateman during their postgame handshake, figuring it was something the Carson coach didn’t need to be told.
“It’s a coach’s responsibility to control his sideline. It was my responsibility to control my players at the end and I didn’t do that, so I take responsibility for that,” Jaureguito said. “We both should learn from this.”
Viking defensive standout Ian Xavier was ejected in the closing seconds of the 17-7 defeat for punching an opponent.
As for Bough, his shoulder remains tender and he may miss the Vikings’ next couple of games. Hopefully the injury won’t dampen the interest California and Oregon State have shown in the talented tailback, who scored 12 touchdowns in four games.
Coaches used to tell their players to never kick a dead horse. Knowing Bough’s desire to succeed, the Senators better hope they don’t meet the Vikings in the playoffs. Come November, Bough may have a chance to make the Senators suffer and show them how to win.
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