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Dear NHIAA: Pump up rivalries

To the powers that be in the NHIAA, please forward your complaints to one Tom King, care of The Telegraph.

His brilliant coverage of the Nashua area athletes has again driven me to this plea. It seems like once a year I write this. Perhaps I should “Andy Dufresne” it and increase my efforts until someone actually hears me.

The time has come for a reboot in high school sports in New Hampshire. Numbers are down, athletes are being turned off, and the NHIAA – heck, administrators everywhere – fiddles.

The time has come to be proactive, and adults aren’t even reacting to the trend.

The key word here is rivalries. And I bring up TK for the amazing work he does promoting these rivalries and making the games special.

So why doesn’t the NHIAA see this. Conference play, home-and-home battles every year with teams from geographically aligned setups seems so natural.

The home-and-home thing happens a lot at the lower levels. Milford, Souhegan and Hollis Brookline often play twice a season in certain sports.

Why wouldn’t the NHIAA step up and make something like this count even more?

I see Division I, for example splitting into three, and again this is non-football, actually taking it from soccer as it currently stands:

East – Spaulding,

Dover, Portsmouth, Exeter, Winnacunnet, Timberlane.

Central – Concord, Memorial, Central, Salem, Pinkerton, Londonderry, Windham, Alvirne.

West – Keene, North, South, Guertin, Merrimack, Goffstown, Bedford, Hanover.

Play twice in your conference and then allow the athletic directors to pick and choose the non-league opponents that are best for your situation.

Suddenly, your games matter in the regular season. Play for something more often, and students, athletes and fans, will care more.

ONE MORE RANT

OK, I realize we are married to the NHFS (Federation) rules here in the Granite State. But when those rules are detrimental to the kids, I wonder why.

Yes, I’m talking about the new, 12-minute quarters in high school football. In the days of the wishbone offense, the power-I, and the wing-T, it’s totally understandable. With so many teams running the spread and throwing the ball over and over again, much of it to the sidelines, 12-minute quarters make no sense.

We are approaching three-hour high school football games, and that’s too much folks. It’s not healthy for anyone.

Friday night, in which Merrimack and Dover played a 39-minute third quarter, the Tomahawks ran 62 plays. Sunday in Miami, the Patriots ran 65.

Something is wrong here, folks.

Now, the fix is an easy one. Simply play it like the NFL. When a ball-carrier goes out of bounds, the clock stops until the ball is set and then in moves again. In high school, the clock stops until the next snap.

That has to change. Sadly, it won’t this year.

So with that, I send a salute out to the Mayflower League in Massachusetts, I am guessing by the name it’s situated somewhere near Plymouth.

It is now my favorite league of all time. You see, the Mayflower folks said “no thanks” to the Federation’s 12-minute quarters. Citing concerns for students, and sanity of fans (OK, I threw that one in), they are playing 10-minute quarters.

Bravo.

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