Saturday, January 28, 2006

Friday Night Lights Hoping To Score On The Small Screen

After making over $61-million worldwide, Friday Night Lights director Peter Berg is bringing Texas football to television.

NBC has signed on for a Fall 2006 episodic series about football in Odessa. According to reports in Variety magazine, unlike the movie, which focused on Odessa Permian's 1988 season, the TV series will be set in the present day.

Here's hoping that the television series isn't a flop, like most movie sequels are.

I for one believe that the movie was done perfectly, and perfection shouldn't be touched for the sake of making more money.

Salinas (CA) High School Head Football Coach Steps Down After Probation

Salinas High School Head Football Coach Mark Ironside did the right thing by resigning earlier this week.

Ironside's resignation comes on the heels of Salinas' entire athletic program being placed on probation by Central Coast Section officials for numerous infractions. The football program has been placed on two year probation and the other sports one year.

What surprises is me, is Ironside wasn't asked to step-down.

Salinas principal John Macias is quoted in The California as saying, "it was his call." Ironside compounds the problem be not saying if his decision to step down was based on the CCS ruling.

"I just felt it was in the best overall interest of the Salinas High School athletic program,'' said Ironside in The Californian article. Ironside will remain on staff as a health and physical education teacher.

What is the Salinas administration by not demanding Ironside resign and apologize? It's my opinion that wins and losses mean more than educating the students.

Just look at what happened during the 2005 season, and decide whether you think Ironside should have been given the choice to stay.

In November a Salinas football player was caught with a fraudulent address, forcing the Cowboys to forfeit five wins and a tie.

In late November, seven varsity football players received lifetime bans from high school sports for appearing in an unsanctioned television commercial.

Bottom line here, Ironside was as responsible as anyone for the Salinas program becoming the SMU of high school sports in California. While I feel bad for the good kids in the program, here's hoping that the CSS decision wakes-up other schools around the country that try to play outside the rules.

To read the full story in The California, please click on our headline.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Valdosta Names 14th Head Coach

Rick Tomberlin is in as the 14th head coach at Valdosta High School. Tomberlin was hired Monday night to take over the program that leads the nation in all-time wins (828 wins through 2005).

Tomberlin comes to the Wildcats after taking Washington County to three Georgia state titles with an overall record of 157-31. In 22 years as a head coach, including a short stint at Valdosta's crosstown rival Lowndes, Tomberlin sports a record of 220 wins and 80 losses.

For more on the hiring from the Valdosta Daily Times, please click on our headline "Valdosta Names 14th Head Coach".

Another High School Football Player Charged With Murder

What is going on!! Yes, The High School Football Huddle is all about what is positive in this great sport, but I cannot ignore the growing number of young men who are being charged with violent crimes since the start of the new year.

The latest is 18-year old Jarray Casey of Long Beach Poly High School, who has pleaded not guilty to a murder charge in connection with the January 8th slaying of Rashad Ali. Casey reportedly has verbally committed to playing his college ball at Oregon.

This news comes on the heels of last Friday's murder of Courtland High School's Baron Braswell II in Spotslyvania, Virginia by five students. All in all there have been a half dozen incidents involving high school players.

In 2004 Ohio's Mr. Football Raymond Williams of Benedictine High saw his scholarship and life go up-in-smoke after pleading guilty to involuntary manslaughter along with two of his teammates.

Of course high school football isn't immunded to the ills of society, but someone's got to at least talk about it!

I recently read a report that found that most high school students say it's easy to purchase a gun, and a lot of inner city kids say that they've either witnessed a shooting, know of someone involved in a shooting or know of a student with a gun. This is frightening!

I'm not going to go off on gun control issues or anything like that. But what I am going to suggest is some way, some how coaches should start counseling players on the do's and don'ts of guns. It's just as important as X's and O's!!

Friday, January 20, 2006

Standout On and Off The Field

This is the type of story that makes high school football such a special sport to cover.

It's a story from my hometown paper (Morning Call) in the Lehigh Valley in eastern Pennsylvania, and shows why winning isn't everything. It's about Northern Lehigh High School senior Tyler Tkach, and is told by Morning Call Sports Reporter Mandy Housenick.

Tyler finished second in the voting for the 21st annual Jim Henry Award, presented by the Maxwell Club, which is given to the most well-rounded high school football player in southern New Jersey, Philadelphia and its surrounding suburbs. But finishing runner-up isn't the story.

It's about this Slatington, Pennsylvania senior dedicating time to help kids with disabilities, and specifically about Ty helping change the life of a fellow student with autism.

This story certainly doesn't surprise me because I know Ty's father Jim, who is a teacher and the former head coach at Northern Lehigh. Coach Tkack is one of the most genuine people you'll ever meet, and he's respected by those who have played for him or against him.

Knowing Coach Tkack, it's not surprising that his son has turned out to be a quality individual. This is definately a case of the apple not falling far from the tree.

Enjoy this story as much as I did.

To read the article from the Morning Call, please click on our headline "A Standout On and Off The Field".

Congratulations to the Ty, the Tkach family and the Northern Lehigh School District.


Waltham HIgh Head Football Coach Recovering After Kidney Transplant

Here's wishing Waltham (Waltham, MA) High School Football Coach Paul Mayberry a speedy and healthy recovery after undergoing a kidney transplant earlier this week.

To read more on Coach Mayberry's surgery and recovery, please click on the above title "Waltham High Head Football Coach Recovering After Kidney Transplant". It will take you to a story from the Daily News Tribune.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Illinois' All-Time Winningest Head Coach Retires

One of the best high school football coaches in the country is taking off the headset. After 38-years Providence Catholic Head Coach Matt Senffner is stepping down at the end of the current school year.

It certainly will be a little strange next year not seeing Senffner on the sideline, since he's the only head coach the Celtics have ever had. Senffner, who will also step down as the school's athletic director, started the school's football program in 1968. After a slow start (1-6, 0-7, 1-8 in the first three seasons), he built the Celtics into a state powerhouse.

Providence won its first of nine state titles in 1987 and then really turned things on in the 90s. From 1994-97 the Celtics won 50 consecutive games and four straight state crowns.

Senffner compiled a 300-114-1 record in 38 seasons, and retires as Illinois' all-time winningest head coach. His 2005 team went 5-5 and lost in the first round of the Class 6A playoffs.

To read more on this great coach, click on the title "Illinois' All-Time Winningest Head Coach Retires"

Friday, January 13, 2006

Valdosta High School Moving Closer To Find New Head Coach

The winningest high school football program in the country is getting closer to naming a new head coach.

According to the Valdosta Daily Times, the final interviews are wrapping up and the Valdosta Wildcats could have the new coach hired by January 23rd. The search began after Rick Darlington resigned after three years on the job and an overall record of 26-14, which included two straight five loss seasons.

To read more about the search process, please click on "link" at the bottom of this blog or the underlined title line.

Illinois High School Football Championships Stay In Champaign

The Illinois High School Association has signed a new five year deal to keep the state football championships at the University of Illinois in Champaign, and I for one applaud the decision.

While working as a TV sports anchor at Fox Sports Net in Chicago, I had the chance to cover the title games "Down State", and I always enjoyed them. More importantly though, was I think the kids really enjoyed the opportunity to play in a Big Ten's quite a reward for a season well done.

Of course I'm very partial to stadiums with tons of history to them, and Memorial Stadium certainly is part of the football fabric in the midwest.

Memorial Stadium was built in 1923 as a memorial to Illinois men and women who gave their lives for their country during World War I. Their names appear on 200 columns that support the east and west sides of the stadium. Donations of approximately $1.7 million by more than 200,000 students, alumni and other friends of the University made the construction possible.

State championship games are supposed to be special, and by playing in Memorial Stadium, it's something that everyone involved will remember. I spent two years working in Atlanta, and it always amazed me that the title games were played on home field of the higher ranked team. It gave an unfair advantage, and just didn't make the event feel as special.

To read more on the IHSA's decision, please click on the link below or click on the title of this blog "Illinois High School Football Championships Stay in Champaign".

Thursday, January 12, 2006

NFL Helps Hawaiian High School

Good morning High School Football Fans!

Here's a story about the NFL and its Players Association giving back. The two are donating $200,000 to put down new, state-of-the-art FieldTurf at Roosevelt High School. This is great for the school, because apparently the Roosevelt field is nothing more than mud during the season.

However, my thought is the NFL really being nice to Roosevelt because it has a big heart and wants to help the high school players at Roosevelt? My guess is what really is coming first is the NFL's desire to use Roosevelt's new field as a practice facility for the Pro Bowl.

To quote Seinfeld, "not that there's anything wrong with that", but let's at least understand that the NFL's motives may be a little selfish here. But again, congratulations to Roosevelt, because it will definately benefit in a big way.

While I know the NFL does make other donation, The High School Huddle would like to make sure that the NFL's policy of giving back to its grassroots is not always for selfish reasons. Here's to making sure the NFL is always looking at inner-city (urban) facilities that throughout this country are in desperate need of NFL dollars for rehab.

To read about the NFL grant click on the link below or click on the title of this blog "NFL Helps Hawaiian High School" at the top of this posting.

Have a great day,


Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Getting It Done on the Field and In the Classroom

These are the stories you love to tell!!

It comes out of Midland, Michigan.

The Midland High and Dow High football teams were playoff teams on the field, but they were state champs off the field.

The Midland Chemics were the #1 team academically in the state in Division 1, while the Dow Chargers headed Division 2. They were the only football teams in the state to earn a cumulative 4.0 grade-point average.

The team GPA is figured based on 11 players nominated by each school. Both teams' GPA was actually higher than 4.0. But 4.0 is the highest GPA recognized for purposes of the award.

For the complete story, click on the link below.

A couple of final notes, both team are part of the Midland School District, and two meet in the Michigan State Playoffs with with Midland beating Dow 20-9. That playoff win came one week after the two met in their annual season finale, which was also won by Midland 24-17.

Congratulation to both schools!!

Monday, January 09, 2006

Research Shows Riddell Revolution Football Helmet Provides Better Protection Against Concussions

Welcome to The Huddle.

Here's some great news on equipment that is making high school football safer. For more information check out the link to Riddell at the bottom of this blog.

Coach Jeff

DALLAS, Jan. 9 /PRNewswire/ -- Today at the American Football Coaches Association national convention, football helmet manufacturer Riddell announced the findings of a recent three-year study of more than 2,000 high school football players by the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) that shows that the Revolution football helmet provides significantly better protection against concussions.

The study, which will be published in February's edition of Neurosurgery, found that athletes who wore the Riddell Revolution helmet were 31 percent less likely to suffer a concussion compared to athletes who wore traditional football helmets. The authors of the study estimate that the Revolution's patented technology could translate to 18,000 to 46,000 fewer concussions among the 1.5 million high school players who participate in football each season. While these results are very encouraging, Riddell stresses that no helmet will prevent all concussions.

"The study compared the concussion and recovery rates for high school players wearing Riddell Revolution helmets versus helmets of traditional design," said Thad Ide, Riddell's vice president of research and development, who joined other researchers in co-authoring the paper with Drs. Michael Collins and Mark Lovell of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Sports Medicine Concussion Program. "The Revolution helmet is a great first step in reducing the risk of concussion to the athlete, but we can't stress enough the importance of proper management when concussions do occur."

The Riddell Revolution was the first football helmet designed with the intent of reducing the risk of concussion. The Revolution design features patented technology that was based on extensive research funded by NFL Charities. Researchers found that most of the concussion-causing impacts were to the side of the head, face or jaw of the struck player in incidents that were re-created in the laboratory after video analysis.

The unique design of the Revolution helmet is based on a Tru-Curve shell shape, which was computer-designed around the head's center of gravity. It features increased side and facial protection to lessen the impact in these areas.

"The reinvention of the conventional helmet began with a focus on the head's center of gravity and increasing protection where it was needed most," added Ide. "At the heart of the Revolution is its Tru-Curve shell shape -- it enabled us to improve protection, comfort, fit and vision -- all great benefits for the athlete."

When the Riddell Revolution was introduced in 2002 it was the first major innovation in football helmets in 25 years -- since that time more than 300,000 youth, high school and pro players have made the switch from traditional helmets to the Revolution.

"The presence of an anticipated protective advantage compelled us to recommend the helmet to our players when it was originally introduced," said Tim Bream, head certified athletic trainer for the Chicago Bears. "This new data helps our players make an informed choice when deciding which helmet is best for them."

"As a mother and wife of an ex-NFL player I have a unique perspective," said Jennifer Montana, wife of Pro Football Hall of Famer, Joe Montana. "Our kids' protection is paramount, so when I heard about the protective benefits of the Revolution, I wanted my kids, and the other players from their football league, to have the best protection available. In my eyes, this new research confirms that the Revolution is the best football helmet for my kids."

For more than 75 years, Riddell has continued to be the leader in innovation for the protective equipment industry.

"True to our roots, Riddell has always made protective equipment innovation a priority," said Bill Sherman, president and CEO of Riddell, Inc. "We're excited that the UPMC results validate the Revolution, but we don't plan to rest on our laurels."

Sunday, January 08, 2006

U.S. Army All-American Bowl

I enjoyed Saturday's NBC broadcast of the U.S. Army's All-American Bowl from San Antonio...however!

All this really is is an infommercial for, Tom Lemming, etc. Quite honestly they continue to miss the boat on how high school football fits into college football.

Yes, all of the players in the game are among the "best of the best" in high school football, but let's remember that there are only 700-plus Major League Baseball players, and every year there are deserving players left off the All-Star roster. High school football has over a million players, so how can anyone possibly get it right!!

It is a great honor for the kids that played, and I don't want to take anything away from them...but....

What I do want to point out is these "know it all" websites don't really care about the game...they care about their profits. Most "analysts" don't really have the pedigree...heck, most big time college coaches know that it's a crapshoot.

Why do I say there needs to be a website serving players who don't have the "blue chiper" after their name?

Here are a couple of things you should know. In February, 2005 the Atlanta Jounal Constitution did a very nice article on National Letter of Intent Signing Day that pointed out that "about 40 percent of the nation's highest-rated prospects go on to college careers that are at best ordinary, at worst awful." That percentage was based on an analysis of the high school Class of 2000.

The AJC went on to state that two out of five of the most highly ranked recruits spend more than half of their college careers as back-ups, or transfer or quit the team.

All I'm saying is let's try to give both sides of the story, and that's why I'm here. They're are a lot of great kids playing at all levels from Division IA to Division III, and I want to tell as many of those stories as I can.

High school coaches, with signing day a month away, email me at and inform me where ALL of your players will be headed on signing day!!

Look forward to hearing from everyone, and making this THE BLOG for high school football.

Finally, this site is about the game of high school football, so it would be wrong of me not to provide you with a link to read about the game. Click on the link below to read a recap of the game.

Just remember, the goal of this blog is to promote the entire sport of high school football!!!



Tuesday, January 03, 2006

There's More to High School Football Than the Color "Blue"!!!

Thank you for checking-in on my new blog, which is designed to focus on all things high school football.

Now when I say high school football, I'm not talking about the 2,900 blue chippers, who definately make high school football the minor league of "Big Time College Football". I'm talking about the 1.3 million plus teenagers, who play the sport for the love of the game.

There's nothing wrong with sites such as and all the D-1A websites that stir-up the "who's recruiting who" excitement, but I want to let people know that there's more to this great sport than 2,900 blue chippers.

I want everyone involved with the 15,000 high school football programs around the country to enjoy this...and join in the fun!!

Feel free to send me any information you have concerning your favorite team, player, coach or fan.

Email me at