View From the Press Box: Dion Clisso 11/18

Dion Clisso

By Dion Clisso PrepsKC Managing Editor
Posted: November 18, 2010 - 2:19 PM

As the playoffs have unfolded this season we have seen plenty of blowouts, but we have also seen quite a few nail-biters. One thing is for sure, there have been some bold coaching decisions in both victories and defeats.

There are a lot of decisions made by head coaches, assistant coaches and players each week that make the difference between winning and losing. Those decisions seem to be magnified by the playoffs and sometimes they look bold and others they look borderline idiotic.

There were two decisions that raised my eyebrows in the games played last week. Two coaches and their staffs decided to go for a two-point conversion to win games. Both of these games were situations where the teams had overcome a huge deficit to have a shot at victory late in the game. One worked, one didn’t, but both were solid decisions.

In the Blue Valley-Bishop Miege game the Stags trailed the Tigers 35-14 at one point in the game. Miege put on a furious comeback and scored to make it 35-34 with a little over two minutes left in the game. The Stags lined up for the extra point but ran a fake but quarterback Max Shortell’s pass was picked off. The two-point try failed and Miege was forced to try an onside kick that Blue Valley recovered. The Tigers ran out the clock and ended the Stags season.

While many people would say that was a dumb call, I disagree. The coaching staff at Miege led by head coach Tim Grunhard decided the best chance to win the game was right there with the ball in Shortell’s hands. They took a chance with a bold call. They took that chance with the ball in the hands of one of their best players. It didn’t work out because a player on the other team made a play.

A similar situation occurred when East Buchanan traveled to West Platte Monday night in a Missouri Class 1 sectional. East Buchanan trailed by three touchdowns at one point in the game and came all the way back to score what with an extra point would be the tying touchdown.

With 14 seconds left in the game the coaches and players talked about and decided to go for the win. They didn’t run a fake extra point with the backup up punter trying to throw a pass, that kind of thing only happens in Iowa, they called their best play with the ball in the hands of their best player and went for it. East Buchanan got the two-point conversion and the win.

Both coaches made bold calls, one worked one didn’t but they at least took their shot with their best players having the opportunity to make a play. By making those calls they told their players, hey I believe in you and we are going to win or lose with our best players handling the ball.

That is a great lesson. Bold decisions are best when they empower teams to succeed or fail based on their own abilities. Isn’t that what coaching and playing team sports are all about.