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Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2016: NFHS lacrosse committee passes safety measures

   Leading off today: The National Federation of State High School Associations has approved a handful of rules changes in boys lacrosse, including a measure to discourage defenders from guarding the cage when the goaltender is out of the crease.

   The new rule reads:

   "No defensive player, other than a properly equipped goalkeeper, can enter his own crease with the intent of blocking a shot or acting as a goalkeeper. If another defensive player enters the crease, officials will stop play as soon as they notice the situation; however, if a shot is already in flight when this is noticed, the shot will be allowed to come to its normal conclusion before the whistle blows to stop the play."

   The recommendation was made by the boys lacrosse rules committee last month in Indianapolis were subsequently approved by the NFHS Board of Directors.

   "That's a good thing for safety," Fayetteville-Manlius coach Chris Kenneally told Syracuse.com. "The ball moves so fast that if you're not covering your man or in good position, you're giving up a good shot. You're better off covering your man, playing good team defense. You don't want some kid getting hit and getting hurt."

   Carthage coach Kirk Ventiquattro said he's seen opposing teams teach defenders to bail out goalies in this manner.

   "I feel at times players feel obligated to do it," he said. "I'm always worried about players getting hit in the chest. So I like that rule."

   In another safety measure, failure to wear a mouthguard now will be a technical foul (30-second penalty or change of possession) rather than a non-releasable foul.

   "The hope with this rule change is better enforcement of proper mouthpiece usage, and to reduce the risk of injury," said James Weaver, the NFHS liaison for boys lacrosse, said in the release announcing the changes.

   The rules committee also altered the stalling rule. Stalling rules will go into effect in the last two minutes only if the score differential is four goals or less.

   Weaver said the previous "automatic stall warning" in the last two minutes created a dangerous situation in that a team that was essentially out of the game was given more opportunity to "punish" the team that was ahead since that team was forced to "keep it in."

   Progress report: The NYSSWA's Steve Grandin has once again compiled the master schedule for the upcoming high school football season. We've posted that the to RoadToSyracuse.com website.

   In addition, we've started making updates to the football site's reference section by posting classifications for all the state's teams and the list of returning all-state players.

   The biggest bit of updating -- individual game, season and career records -- will come later this month when NYSSWA historian and statistician Paul Hutzler finishes up his work.

   What a nightmare: This isn't the worst recruiting-trip horror story I've ever heard, but it's in the running for the silver medal.

   Middletown (N.J.) South football star James McCarthy, who'd already given a verbal commitment to Penn and holds at least nine other offers, tore his right anterior cruciate ligament on a recent visit to Syracuse University and will miss his senior season.

   "We were doing a box drill and my cleats got caught in the turf and my knee went the wrong way," McCarthy told NJ.com. "I had intense pain, but the pain went away. The trainer told me I could go back in, but it just didn't feel right inside.

   "I was close to committing to Syracuse before the injury. But it opened my eyes to the idea of what happens after football. I called the Penn coaches and they were fine even with the injury."

  
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   Middletown South football coach Steve Antonucci was understandably upset.

   "He was hurt during a drill," Antonucci said. "He was running around even though he already had the scholarship offer. In my opinion, he didn't need to be doing anything."

   L.I. coach remembered: Former track and football coach Robert Kerr died early this month at the age of 67 after a long battle with prostate cancer.

   Kerr coached at Newfield, Ward Melville, Miller Place and Rocky Point. He taught social studies in the Middle Country School District from 1971-2004. He earned numerous teaching awards and had a 42-year coaching career, highlighted by numerous coach of the year awards, including the Suffolk County boys track and field award in 2015.

   His Newfield boys won league titles in track in 1976, 1977 and 1978, and Newfield girls earned league honors in 1984. The Rocky Point boys won league titles in 2005 and 2006, the first league track titles in school history. He guided his Ward Melville boys to the league crown in 2012, the first in the school's 52-year history.

   He coached Newfield football from 1987-98, making the playoffs in 1990-91.

   "He loved his students and always referred to each of them as, 'his kids,'" said his son Robert Kerr. "If a student wanted to play a sport but his or her family didn't have the money to buy equipment, my dad would buy the equipment for them and he would do it anonymously -- he never wanted people to know. He was a man of character."

   Extra points: Anne Delaney penned her farewell column in the Observer-Dispatch. She's leaving her sports job in Utica for a news position in Pensacola, Fla.


  
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