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Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2019: 48-point win gets Plainedge football coach suspended

   Leading off today: This has not been a good week to be a coach of a state-ranked Class A football team.

   Tuesday's blog reported that coach Nick Giannatasio of 23rd-ranked was suspended for the remainder of the season by the Catholic High School Football League because a player was allowed to participate in JV and varsity games the same weekend.

   On Wednesday, Newsday reported that Rob Shaver of No. 3 Plainedge has become the first coach to be suspended for one game under a 3-year-old Section 8 sportsmanship rule designed to prevent teams from running up the score.

   Shaver, 149-70-1 in 23 seasons, will miss the regular-season finale this weekend against Lynbrook after a sectional committee determined that Shaver kept his top players on the field too long during the 61-13 victory over previously unbeaten Rockville Centre South Side on Friday. Plainedge took a 48-13 lead into the fourth quarter.

   The committee voted unanimously Tuesday to suspend Shaver, according to Matt McLees, the football chairman in Section 8 and one of the committee members.

   The rule requires the coach of a team that wins by more than 42 points to submit in writing what he did to avoid running up the score. Three coaches have successfully defended themselves this season after winning by more than 42 points.

   Shaver said he was not running up the score and that he doesn't agree with the six-person committee's interpretation of the rule.

   "They thought it was a mismanaged game, which my opinion is, that isn't the rule," Shaver said. "It should be: You ran up the score on purpose. That's what the intent of the rule is for.

   "What made me the most upset, to be honest is, listen, if the South Side coach complained and said, 'This guy definitely ran up the score on us,' well, then they should investigate. Because that's the intent of the rule. The spirit of the rule is to prevent better teams from running up on lesser programs and sportsmanship and dignity and all that stuff. I get it. That didn't happen."

   South Side coach Phil Onesto said he was OK with what transpired in the game. "I had spoke to coach Shaver, I told him I had no issues."

   Girls soccer: Top-seeded City Honors won a shootout to edge Alden 4-3 in the B-1 bracket and become the first Buffalo Public Schools girls soccer team to reach a Section 6 tournament final.

   The Centaurs rallied from a 3-1 deficit.

   City Honors will face No. 2 seed Iroquois, which edged No. 3 East Aurora 1-0.

   School to use emotional support coaches: Peekskill has launched a pilot program to place school personnel on the bench and in the locker room at varsity football and basketball games to act as coaches who help athletes handle adversity and anxiety.


   The district has allocated $13,000 in grant money to pay for four existing district employees to act as emotional support coaches following training in social emotional learning. The Board of Education approved the program earlier this month.

   The program is believed to be the first of its kind nationally at the high school level. AD Austin Goldberg told The Journal News he believes the initiative will help reduce football site

negative responses in athletes brought on by frustration and that players will perhaps perform better.

   Goldberg said one coach will be assigned to the boys varsity basketball team and one to the girls varsity basketball team, with the other two serving as back-ups.

   Assembly hearing on youth football: Bronx Assemblyman Michael Benedetto has been campaigning for years to rack up support for his proposal to prohibit children under the age of 13 from participating in tackle football.

   Studies connecting the sport to chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) have given his cause some momentum in recent years, and lawmakers conducted a hearing Tuesday in New York City.

   A study released by the Boston University School of Medicine this month found the longer a person plays tackle football the more likely they are to feel the effects of CTE, but youth football advocates point to recent rules changes that have made the sport safer.

   They also reiterated a significant point that seems to be lost upon elected officials in Albany: There is no current legislation seeking to regulate other sports that carry the risk of concussions, including lacrosse, ice hockey and soccer.

   Also lost in the current debate is the reality that teaching better technique at a young age should result in smarter, safer behavior once players reach high school, where the speed of the game increases.

   Remarks by Scott Hallenbeck, the executive director of USA Football, about how 700,000 youth and high school coaches have been certified for more demanding safety standards, were relegated to the last three paragraphs of The Associated Press account of the hearing.

   "Parents do not want their government telling them when their kids can play football," Hallenbeck said. "Instead, they want to make informed decisions for themselves; parents need information and options in order to determine what is best for their child."

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