High school notebook: the open post-season tournaments are coming to an end


After four high school sports seasons with open tournaments, the Maine Principals’ Association is returning to its two-thirds rule for playoff inclusion this fall.

“Of all the rule changes, the most significant is the return to the 67% rule to make the playoffs in Heal point sports,” said Mike Bisson, deputy executive director of the MPA.

Due to the recognition that COVID protocols would invariably result in canceled games, the MPA moved to open tournaments beginning in the spring of 2021 and continued the process through the 2021-22 school year.

Now, only teams that finish within two-thirds of the Heal points standings will advance to the soccer, field hockey and volleyball playoffs this fall. The same will apply to winter and spring sports that use Heal Points – basketball, hockey, baseball, softball, lacrosse and tennis.

HIGH NOBLE at North Berwick has a new varsity team. The Knights will have varsity and junior varsity volleyball teams.

Noble has been a Sanford Cooperative Partner for two years.

“I can’t thank (former Sanford athletic director) Gordie (Salls) enough for helping us out and allowing us to join Sanford as the interest in volleyball at Noble grew,” Aaron Moore said. , sports director of Noble. “Last year we had about 18 Noble girls on the Sanford roster (JV and varsity). Examining the growth in numbers over the past two years has shown a healthy increase in interest at the high school level. Not to mention that we had over 80 volleyball athletes at the intermediate level last year.

Marcel Alix, who works in the technical department at the school, will be Noble’s first head coach. He played men’s volleyball at Mascenic High in New Ipswich, New Hampshire, where it is a state-sanctioned sport.

“I’ve always said volleyball is one of the most fun games to play and watch, especially at a competitive level,” Alix said. “I’ve always tried to get that word out.”

Alix said he has 22 players signed up to play this fall. Noble painted volleyball lines on the floor of his refurbished gymnasium and purchased custom uniforms and pole pads with the Noble Knights logo.

“There’s a lot of excitement,” Alix said.

FOOTBALL HAS a new intentional grounding rule, favorable to the quarterback. In the past, any time a high school quarterback threw the ball and was not near an eligible receiver, it was an intentional groundout. Unlike the NFL and NCAA, it didn’t matter whether the quarterback rushed outside the tackle zone — or free blocking zone as it’s called in high school — or threw the ball at the beyond the line of scrimmage.

Wells coach Tim Roche said he always has to teach his quarterbacks to “throw it like you’re throwing it to somebody.” Bonny Eagle coach Kevin Cooper said every year quarterbacks have to learn that the high school rule isn’t the same as “what they grow up seeing on TV.”

The new rule allows a quarterback to throw a pass, including out of bounds, as long as he is outside the free blocking zone and the pass returns to the line of scrimmage. Spiking the ball under duress will always be a penalty.

“I have that on my training schedule straight away, I can tell you that,” Roche said.

Another rule change is a new definition of a “cutting block”. Previously, a chop block was illegal when a defender was double teamed with one blocker going high and another blocker going below the knee. The call was made infrequently, in part because officials had difficulty discerning whether the low block was above or below the knee. Now the low blocker should touch above the waist.

“I have a huge problem with chop blocks and illegal chop block because there’s a huge chance of injury for a defensive lineman,” Cooper said. “Coaches don’t teach it, but sometimes kids do what they have to do to survive,” against top defensive linemen.

Bonny Eagle Varsity Maine All-State lineman and 2021 Gaziano Award winner Thomas Horton “got blocked all the time” last season, Cooper said, “and I was constantly yelling at the officials to call the block of chopped off.” He said the call was made “usually after it had happened several times before”.

Maine officials have also warned coaches they will be quicker to blow a dead play when a runner’s forward progress has been halted in an effort to curb offensive players “pushing the stack” to win. an extra yard or two. Teams will not be penalized for pushing the stack. Rather, it will be up to the referees to blow the whistle, stop play, and then spot the ball with precision.

Additionally, zero is now a legal number for football shirts.

FIELD HOCKEY coaches will get a time out for the first time. It can be used at any time, including overtime.

“We asked for this,” said Lori Smith, who is entering her 25th season as head coach at Thornton Academy. “They did a national poll and most coaches wanted that at the high school level. … In high school, we are still at school level. Many coaches have felt they need it just in case, to set up a team or just for a teaching moment.

Field hockey will also have a five-goal leniency rule. If a team leads by five or more goals in the second half, the clock will continue to run after the goals have been scored. Smith said game speed and scoring have increased in recent years due to the self-starting rule after an offense and more artificial turf pitches. This, combined with a certain competitive imbalance, has led to more out-of-control games.

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