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Saturday, Feb. 15, 2014: NFHS adds two safety-related football rules

   Leading off today: It's a proactive step toward addressing a serious safety topic, but good luck to high school football officials in trying to enforce a rule next season that neither college nor pro officials have been able to call with very much consistency the past two years.

   Seeking to reduce contact above the shoulders, the National Federation of State High School Associations football rules committee this week announced a definition for "targeting," which will be penalized as illegal personal contact beginning in 2014.

   New Rule 2-43 defines targeting as "an act of taking aim and initiating contact to an opponent above the shoulders with the helmet, forearm, hand, fist, elbow or shoulders." In addition, the committee redefined "defenseless player." Rule 2-32-16 will read as: "A defenseless player is a player who, because of his physical position and focus of concentration, is especially vulnerable to injury."

   The other significant change related to safety is a two-part adjustment to what the kicking team is allowed to do during onside kick attempts: At least four players must be lined up on either side of the kicker, minimizing the ability to "load up" one side of the field, and only the kicker may get a running start from more than five yards behind the free-kick line.

   More rules: If an injury to a goalkeeper appears serious enough for the referee to stop the clock, that player will now have to come off the field according to a measure approved this week by the NFHS soccer rules committee.

   The mandatory substitution rule had previously applied only to field players.

   "The committee wanted to make sure that players who were apparently injured were evaluated by a coach or an appropriate health-care professional," said Mark Koski, the NFHS liaison to the committee. "The overriding concern is minimizing risk to all students."

   Working extra hard: Sophomore winger Lina Mirabella scored the winning goal 2:27 into double overtime to lead Kenmore to the Section 6 girls ice hockey championship with a 2-1 victory against Lancaster/Iroquois.

   Mirabella also scored the winning goal in the 2011 sectional final as a seventh-grader.

   Kenmore became the first team in the four-year history of the Federation to win the Federation and sectional championships. Kenmore beat Lancaster/Iroquois 2-1 in the Federation final earlier this month.

   NYC legend retires: The winningest coach in PSAL history is calling it a career at the age of 79. Charles Granby of Campus Magnet made his retirement official following a 76-33 loss to Cardozo on Feb. 8.

   "I coached here for 45 years, and I can't think of one bad memory," Granby told The New York Times. "It's always a better idea to leave later rather than earlier. This way there are no regrets."

   Campus Magnet, formerly known as Andrew Jackson High, finished 4-11 in the league this year and with seven wins overall. Granby's final total on 722 wins ranks third on the state's all-time list behind Archbishop Molloy great Jack

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Curran (972), who died last March, and East Hampton's Ed Petrie (754). His teams won 24 division championships and seven borough titles.

   "He was the king of Queens in those years," said Cardozo coach Ron Naclerio, who becomes the winningest active coach in the state with 673 triumphs.

   "Every day I wake up I consider myself blessed," said Granby, who survived kidney cancer in 1976 and prostate cancer in 1993.

   "Coach Granby is my hero," said Bob Hurley Sr., the coach of Jersey City (N.J.) St. Anthony. "I'm 66 years old (with 1,099 wins), and I hope that when I'm in my late 70s, I still have that same passion and fire for coaching and teaching. Forget wins and losses for a minute and think about all the relationships that Coach Granby has been involved in over the years, all the kids whose lives he made better beyond basketball. "

   One of Granby's trademarks over his career was the "ugly life" speech he frequently gave to drive home the importance of an education.

   "Without a college degree, you will have an ugly life," he often told players. "Your job will be ugly. Your house will be ugly. Your car will be ugly. Your wife will be ugly."

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