The Sheldon Irish captured the OSAA 6A state title by defeating Jesuit 50 to 43 last Saturday at OSU's Reser Stadium in Corvallis. The Irish were lead by an outstanding performance from senior quarterback Jordan Johnson. Jesuit came close to tying when they reached the Sheldon 14 yard line with time running out. Nick Steele's tackle of Jesuit quarterback Jeff Elorriaga on a scramble sealed the victory for the Irish. The loss overshadowed an outstanding performance on the part of Jesuit running back Keanon Lowe, the fleet footed receiver who stepped in to play tailback when the highly regarded Dylan Jackson withdrew from school just prior to the start of the season for a violation of team rules. Keanon played his heart out in the final, gaining 310 rushing yards, 408 all purposes yards, and scoring all six of Jesuit's touchdowns.
Though the game was well played and hard fought, the final score is indicative of the changes that the game has gone through during the modern age. Some of the scoring is a result of greater efficency and accuracy between quarterbacks and their recievers, but much is due to the relaxation of blocking rules. The changes essentially allow holding, not only on the part of offensive linemen, but all across the field. The use of hands to hold defenders has heavily favored the offensive team.
For me, defense is the heart and soul of a football game. Good defense is fun to watch. Holding players does not allow them to play defense. You cannot close to make an open field play if someone is holding your jersey. Such contributions do not qualify as great running plays in my book. In my opinion, a score of 17 to 10 reflects a far more enjoyable and entertaining game to play in and watch.
The problem is far worse in the college ranks. We will never see defense in the college game like we did from the Washington Huskies of the early eighties or the Brian Bosworth led Olahoma Sooners a few years later. Those were fun teams to watch.
I would that we had those days again.