We had a play during the Akron Buchtel at Northwest playoff game Friday night that all four of us on the broadcast agreed we had never seen before. Let me explain what happened. Buchtel was preparing to punt from their own territory when the long snapper sent the ball well over the punter’s head. As the punter retreated to recover the ball, he noticed the Northwest defenders closing in on him. Not wanting to give the ball to the Indians just outside the goalline, he decided to kick the ball out of the endzone. We had seen players kick or bat the ball out of the endzone before but only while in the endzone. This happened outside the endzone, at about the 6 yard line, and the ball travelled into and through the endzone.
We all knew it was a penalty because you are not allowed to kick the ball (unless kicking off, placement kicking or punting) or bat it with your arm or hand. The flags flew and then the questioning and discussing began. After a brief talk between officials, they decided to get the rule book to make sure they got it right. Credit goes to the officials for admitting they were not sure of the ruling. In a week 1 game in western Ohio featuring Marion Local and Wapakoneta (2 teams still in the playoffs) the same play occurred and the officials got it wrong (they did not consult the rule book).
After a short check in the rule book, here is what they called. It was indeed a penalty on Buchtel for illegally kicking the ball. Northwest actually had a choice. They could accept the penalty in which case Buchtel would be penalized from the original line of scrimmage and they could then punt again OR Northwest could accept the safety for the ball going into and out of the endzone (they would get 2 points) and then Buchtel would kick off from their own 20 yard line. With very little time left in the first half, Coach DeMarco took the 2 points and Buchtel kicked off. Northwest ran a few plays but the half ended 7-2 Buchtel. It never fails, if I watch the game closely, I always learn something new about the great game of football. Can’t wait to learn something else in round 3 this weekend!