View From the Press Box: Dion Clisso 9/17

Dion Clisso

By Dion Clisso PrepsKC Managing Editor
Posted: September 17, 2018 - 8:37 PM

Football is a violent sport and people get hurt. Sometimes they get hurt without contact. The game puts stresses on the body that can twist and break it without the help of a collision with another human being.

That’s the sport. Everyone who plays it now, has played it in the past or will play it in the future knows that. That part will not change.

Injuries can also occur when players decide playing the game the right way isn’t enough. They decide to go over the line and play dirty. They try to intentionally hurt their opponent. This isn’t new it has happened since the beginning of the game. Some people choose to take the wrong path and bad things can happen.

That circumstance may have occurred this past week. Blue Valley North’s Graham Mertz was injured during the game. The extent of the injury and how long he will be out is not known at this time. I hope he makes a speedy return because his presence makes high school football in Kansas City better.

A story has come out of the game that Mertz’s injury occurred when a Pittsburg player intentionally ripped at his leg after a tackle. I have spoken with several media members who were at the game and was told there is video of this play and it might show the play in full including the alleged incident where the Pittsburg player intentionally attempted to injure Mertz.

I was not there. I did not see it, or have I seen the video at this point. I do know that Pittsburg was flagged for multiple personal fouls in the game and I was told there were two players who seemed to be playing beyond the boundaries of safe football.

While I know this happens on a field somewhere every Friday, Saturday and Sunday it doesn’t make it right. I feel if you chose to injure a player personally who should sit until that player returns. If that is the whole season well that’s the way it goes.

We have added the targeting rule in college and it seems to be having an impact at cleaning up that portion of the game.

Trying to hurt a player on the other team to get them out of the game doesn’t make you tough, it makes you a coward. You are admitting you aren’t good enough to beat that player straight up with your effort and abilities and you are going to cheat to win. At that point I’m done with you and really your coaches and teammates should be done too.

Dion Clisso is the Managing Editor of PrepsKC. To reach him send email to