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Sunday, Aug. 16, 2015: National Federation changes lacrosse faceoff rule

   Leading off today: This feels like as good a day as any to clean out the notebook, catching up on some news and notes that haven't made it online here yet. In other words, I didn't feel like working on updating the reference section on just yet.

   Lacrosse rules changes: Faceoffs in boys lacrosse will have a new look in 2016 following rules changes approved by the National Federation of State High School Associations announced recently.

   The faceoff rules have been rewritten so that the official will be placing the ball after the players on the X are down rather than before. Players will still be required to remain motionless after the official says "set" and until the whistle is blown.

   Rules were also revised to address issues with the ball becoming stuck in the crosse, including the back of the crosse after a faceoff. A player cannot carry the ball in the back of the stick. However, it is legal to clamp the ball with the back of the stick -- if it is moved, raked or directed immediately (i.e., within one step).

   In another change, a new "over and back" rule makes it a turnover or a play-on if the offensive team directs the ball into its defensive half of the field once it has been advanced into the goal area.

   Under the heading of points of emphasis, it's being recommended that coaches not teach or encourage field players to block the goal when the goalkeeper is out of position.

   The new Suburban Council: When practice in fall sports starts Monday, athletes from Albany, Albany CBA, Schenectady and Troy will be a step closer to their debut in the Suburban Council in Section 2. Those schools were independents last year following the demise of the Big 10, and their arrival makes the Suburban Council a 16-school league.

   According to The Daily Gazette, Suburban Council schools account for nearly half of Section 2's enrollment.

   Hitting the road: The Rochester region's leading exports used to be Eastman Kodak photographic film and Xerox copiers. Lately, Section 5 schools have been supplying a new No. 1 export: athletes who haven't yet graduated.

   In its Porter Cup coverage this month, The Buffalo News reported that Pittsford golfer Will Thomson, who completed eighth grade this spring, is relocating to Florida with his family after having compiled an exceptional resume in his best sport.

   Thomson finished tied for eighth and then tied for 14th in his two appearances in the NYSPHSAA championships. A year ago, he became the youngest competitor in U.S. Men's Amateur history by qualifying at the age of 13.

   He'll start school in Naples, Fla., this month but hopes to spend portions of his summers back in the Rochester area to reunite with friends and play some of his favorite events.

   Besides a long list of hockey players (common for many regions of the state) to leave before graduating, Thomson joins big names like Thomas Bryant (Bishop Kearney basketball) and Jordan Allen (Aquinas soccer) that have left early. Later this summer, John Lombardi (Irondequoit football and lacrosse) and Noah DeHond (McQuaid football) head off to out-of-state prep schools.

   DeHond, by the way, is soaring to rarefied-air territory among Class of 2017 offensive line prospects. There isn't a

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school in the South-eastern Conference or Big Ten that wouldn't sign him on the spot.

   Finger Lakes coach dies: John Wilbur, a three-sport star at Midlakes who went on to coach at his alma mater, died July 31 at the age of 62, the Finger Lakes Times reported.

   Wilbur coached soccer for 24 seasons and basketball for 13 at Midlakes. Most recently he coached girls JV basketball at Canandaigua.

   "It will be so hard to replace John here, as a teacher, and coach, and as a friend," Midlakes AD Lyle Dixon said. "He connected with all the students. He never had a bad word for anybody. The best part was his upbeat personality and his storytelling. He was a pleasure to be around."

   The big show: A Georgia high school now boasts of the nation's largest prep football stadium video board. Norcross High unveiled its 29½-by-51½ gizmo -- making for more than 1,500 square feet of display space -- this month.

   The public will get its first look Aug. 19. The project was built with the support of the city and sponsors. Advertising will cover system maintenance and provide funding for the school.

   Extra points: Former Aquinas all-state lineman Jarron Jones suffered a season-ending knee injury Friday during football practice at Notre Dame. Jones, who started 11 games at tackle last fall before a foot injury, was expected to anchor the Fighting Irish defense this fall. He's facing surgery later this week and then a lengthy rehab.

   In case you missed it: I blogged earlier Sunday with some thoughts about changes that might benefit the NYSPHSAA tournaments in football and baseball.

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