How One Onside Kick Showed the Ultimate Disrespect
OPINION — When beating a team as badly as Lubbock Estacado did Lake View on Friday, the foot of the team in front tends to ease off the gas pedal a little. In Estacado's case, that didn't happen until the fourth quarter when they were leading 84-0.
During my career, I experienced both sides of a lopsided score. One constant always rang true: never kick an opponent while they're down. Estacado seemingly did just that, while leading 28-0, when they went for an onside kick after a 59-yard interception for a touchdown late in the first quarter.
Now, I completely support playing hard 'til the clock strikes zero. That's how I was taught to play at my alma maters Crosby High School and Angelo State. After a certain point, the backups would get put in and the pressure on the gas pedal was somewhat relieved. Estacado did all they could in that aspect, considering they have 36 players on their roster and went to running the ball mainly in the second half.
One thing that never happened during my career was exactly what Estacado did at the end of the first quarter, a surprise onside kick. There has been an outcry from some fans saying that move by the Matadors wasn't "classless". For those who don't know, two years and 30 pounds ago, I was a kicker. Surprise onside kicks, as we kickers were taught, are meant for games that could be close and your team may need the momentum to swing in their favor.
Some coaches and fans I've spoke to about the matter defended the move, saying it was a time to practice the play and get it on film for opponents to see and account for in future weeks. That's a notion for plays such as a half-back pass, double reverse, or flea flicker. Those are plays you want opposing coaches to game plan against. Putting a surprise onside kick on film eliminates any sort of surprise from the play.
Also in the first quarter, Estacado picked off Lake View on a play that would eventually be nullified by five Estacado penalties. During the interception return, Estacado took a couple of cheap shots behind the play. After the play, Estacado received two more penalties for unsportsmanlike conduct after one player threw the ball high in the air and another taunted Lake View players. That further cemented to lack of sportsmanship displayed by Estacado on Friday night.
In no way am I supporter of participation trophies, but even Barbarians would kill their opponents with their dignity still in tact.