Extra Points: Brian Spano 10/23

Brian Spano

By PrepsKC Senior Writer Brian Spano
Posted: October 23, 2013 - 2:12 PM

Ever show up early to a high school football game just to watch the teams warm up? Ever stay late to watch the teams shake hands? Have you ever noticed why an extra three minutes are tacked on to halftime after the teams have already returned to the field from their respective locker rooms?
It’s these little rituals and idiosyncrasies about the game that have always piqued my interest. There’s more to the game than what happens from opening kickoff to final whistle.
Forget the constant barrage of music or the cutesy announcements from the public address announcer. Keep an eye on the happenings on the field before, during and after the game.
If you arrive early, watch how the coaching staff or the reserves will stand near midfield, acting almost like a wall so the other team can’t see the plays being run at the far end of the field.
I find this somewhat ironic since both teams have already exchanged film on each other and have already studied one another’s tendencies ad nauseam.
When the officiating crew arrives prior to the game, they will walk the field from end zone to end zone to make sure all the pylons and yard markers are placed correctly. They meet with the chain gang and head coaches to go over any special ground rules that might be unique to that field.
When halftime rolls around, notice that the referee will instruct the clock operator to roll the clock once the teams have left the field, no sooner. And additional time is usually added to the intermission on special occasions like Homecoming and Senior Night.
But then there’s that extra three minutes that’s added when the teams come back out after halftime. Why don’t they just make halftime three minutes longer? Great question. Unfortunately, I don’t have the perfect answer to that, but an official told me that once the teams come back out, they put three minutes on the clock for a mandatory warm-up time for both teams.
We’ve all seen players thrust their arms into the air with four fingers raised when the fourth quarter hits. Why? Well, football is a four-quarter game, and these kids, win or lose, are playing until that final whistle blows.
And when that final whistle blows, each team lines up at midfield for the congratulatory, or consoling, handshake. My favorite part of that is when the opposing coach seeks out a player on the other team to either congratulate or console him. It’s when you really know how tight knit this “community” really is.
When the handshakes end, each team adjourns to either end of the field, takes a knee and listens intently to what the coach has to tell them, both good and bad, about what just took place in the game, while I and whatever other reporters wait around to talk to said coach.
The final moment before the players head to the locker room and go their separate way for the night is a tight team huddle and a loud chant, usually the team name, called a breakdown.
It’s everything, besides the game, that goes into a typical Friday night.