Trick Play Problems
This week I recieved a nice e-mail from a youth football coach down south that has an age 12-13 year old team running my system. They are a second year program in an intensely competitive youth football league and have shown marked improvement. They were playing a playoff game and were looking for that extra late season edge and turned to running one of the simple “trick” football plays in their playbook.
Youth Football Team Loses Sure Touchdown on Trick Play
They ran a trick football play, the 32 wedge �fumble�. This play is in essence a fake fumble where the two deep backs pretend the ball is snapped over their heads,they do a great acting job of diving on the “fumble”, in the meantime the ball is snapped short and the up-back runs a wedge play. When this team ran the play, the up-back took the ball to the house for a 60 yard touchdown. Unfortunately the fake was so good, that the referees had blown the play dead, thinking the two deep backs had fumbled the snap and were lying on the football.
With the tight formation and bunched backs of this system, this offense is extremely deceptive even to experienced referees. I’ve had High School refs with over 20 years experience lose the ball in our games. They tell me they hate doing our games because they just can’t follow the ball with all the misdirection and spinning ball fakes, multiple snap targets and low snaps. To ref one of our games, you really have to be on your toes. Throw in the fact that many youth football referees are not terribly experienced and you have a recipe for some major problems.
How to Solve the Problem
Before the game, make sure and demonstrate your trick plays to the officials so this type of thing does not happen to you. If you are worried about the other team watching, block their view with your backup players standing in a body to body tight line to obscure their view and run your offense perpendicular to the sidelines.
Fortunately my friends team won this game 26-25, but it could have been the difference in the game. DON’T let this happen to you, be proactive and discuss your trick plays with the referees beforehand and even demonstrate them to the referee crew. Most crews really appreciate it and doing so could save you both from a pile of grief.
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