By EARL WATT
• Leader & Times
Cliff Abbott may have to have an official’s clinic before games.
Abbott has scoured the rule book to push the game to its limits, but he is getting little support from the officiating crew.
Not only did the Redskins get called twice for defensive blocks on the line below the waist for the second straight week, but an onside attempt that was recovered by the Redskins was negated when the official made the ruling that Alan Fraire’s drop kick was not legal. It was the same style of kick that Liberal attempted twice against Hays when the play was deemed legal.
After a lengthy discussion between Abbot and the official, Abbott conceded that he was not going to be able to reverse the call.
“We are going to exchange some information,” Abbott told the official after the ensuing kick was recovered by Dodge City.
Still, Abbott’s team was able to withstand losing their lead after a near two-hour weather delay and rally for the 40-27 win.
Abbott has seen his players lose leads in the past, and not be able to respond.
But when he looked at his players after seeing the nine-point lead turn into a one-point deficit, he saw something different.
“They were up by a point, and we went to the sideline and, we knew they would kick it into the end zone,” Abbott said. “I asked them, ‘What are you going to do about it?” and I looked them in the eye. It wasn’t the eyes I’ve seen in years past. They looked like they knew what they needed to do. I was proud of how they battled.”
Liberal will review the rule book, which is now a sideline piece of equipment, and work to prepare his team for Garden City and homecoming Friday.