On Friday night, the Freedom-Woodbridge Eagles beat the Colgan Sharks by a whopping 112 to 16. In that game, they also scored more points than any other Virginia high school football team in at least 50 years.
After accusations the Eagles unnecessarily ran up their score, coach Daryl Overton says that’s simply not the case. WTOP’s Bryan Albin explains why he believes him.
“112 points in a football game is a ton of points,” Albin said. “And your natural inclination is going to be, ‘Maybe they crossed the lines of sportsmanship and tried to run up the score beyond what they needed to create a lopsided margin in a game where it was clearly over early on.'”
Albin said that, in Overton’s interview with InsideNova, he made a good case for how the team did not run up the score — and why they were able to score so much.
In the article, Overton pointed to Freedom-Woodbridge’s big play touchdowns that didn’t even come on offense. They had four defensive touchdowns and two special teams touchdowns.
Albin gave an example of what it would be like if they were trying to run up the score.
“You’re already up five, six possessions pretty early in the game, and you still have your starters on the field for the entire game, and you’re still playing up-tempo,” he said. “You’re still slinging the ball around the field, going for big chunk plays.”
Albin said that didn’t sound like what Freedom-Woodbridge was doing, adding that they may simply be a better team than Colgan.
“You can’t tell kids who play defense, ‘Hey, we’re trying not to run up the score. If you intercept the ball, just take a knee so that we don’t put points on the board,’ said Albin.
“At some point, you’re almost making a mockery of the game if you do stuff like that.”
Albin did say that if Freedom-Woodbridge was purposefully running up the score, that would be considered unsportsmanlike. He explained how teams can avoid a lopsided score.
“Once they get a big lead, to avoid running the score up, what you’re going to do is take out your starters as early as possible, let your bench players play against the other team starters,” said Albin.
He added that these situations make people question if there should be a mercy rule, or if the game should end early once a team passes beyond a certain point lead.
“I think there are arguments on both sides,” Albin said. “Are you really helping out the kids on the losing team if you teach them, ‘Sorry, if you’re just not good enough, we’re going to let you quit?’
“Or do you tell them, ‘Sorry, sometimes you’re just going to get beat down on a sports field just like you’ll get beat down in life?'”
Colgan head coach Reggie Scott, who previously worked as assistant coach under Overton for two years, echoed the sentiment in an interview with InsideNoVa.
“At the end of the day, it’s about what we want to teach our kids,” Scott said. “You have to compete. You can’t quit. By stopping the game, you teach the kids a bad lesson.”
Albin said that sports can sometimes teach valuable lessons, and you must battle through them so you can “come back the next week and try to win.”