Idaho Prep Football Mercy Rule Change is Approved
As a broadcaster of live high school sports in the Treasure Valley, 630 The Fan is very selective when it to which high school games we broadcast.
Criteria never changes, we always want a game pairing two even teams, a game that has something riding on the outcome.
Once in a while even a potentially good game meeting all the criteria turns into a rout and that is why there is a mercy rule. In Idaho any time a team leads by 40 points or more at halftime the entire second half is a running clock.
Only twice have I had to call a football game where they never stopped the clock in the second half. From a standpoint of me having to try and make a boring game exciting, I loved the running clock.
However from a players outlook why play the second half at all. If the leading team gets the second half kickoff even a few first downs will run out the quarter.
That's why 5A and 3A coaches asked for an have received a mercy rule change. In those classifications the running clock won't start until the 4th quarter when a team is up by 40 or more. The third quarter then becomes a competitive struggle to close the gap enough to fight to the end. Coaches in the other classifications asked to stay with the halftime running clock and that desire was granted.
Honestly I don't like the mercy rule at all. Isn't that why you have backups? When you get a big lead or trail by a lot it's a chance for the backups to finally get some game experience. The running clock steals that option. I figure if you can practice everyday after school you should be rewarded with some playing time in the game and for many that only happens when your team is up big or down big.