Last week was a long one for Columbian preps reporter Paul Valencia.
It started with a bout of the flu, or flu-like symptoms, which knocked him down for a couple of days.
But by Thursday, he was feeling better, enough to head out to McKenzie Stadium to cover the Mountain View-Fort Vancouver football game.
On Friday night, he covered two more games at Kiggins Bowl.
I’m not sure if he’s feeling any better now.
All three games he covered were shutouts. All three employed a running clock in the second half.
The cumulative scores of the three games — 181-0. To read more about Paul’s lost weekend, check out his Day After Report on our high school sports blog.
But these games were hardly anomalies. We’ve seen a lot of running-clock games. In order for the running-clock rule to go into effect a team must hold a lead of 40 points or more in the second half of the game.
In games this season between teams from any of the three Greater St. Helens Leagues, a running clock has been used a whopping 12 times.
There were the games Paul covered last weekend — 47-0, 58-0 and 76-0.
We’ve also seen games with finals of 55-7, 70-0, 42-0, 45-3, 48-0, 54-13 (twice) and 49-7 (twice).
There is a huge disparity between the haves and have-nots. There’s even a big gap between the have-somes and the have-nots.
In consecutive weeks in the 4A GSHL, we’ve seen one team beat another league rival 54-13 then to lose to another league rival 76-0 the next week.
And we have not seen the last of running-clock games.
So who are winners and losers out of all of these lopsided games. I’m not talking about what teams have won or lost. I’m talking about impact these lopsided games have on the teams who won and those who lost.
WINNERS: All of these lopsided games mean that a lot of reserves are getting playing time. That could have a positive effect on team’s depth as the season presses on into the postseason, as well as into next season.
LOSERS: Team conditioning. Coaches like to say championships are won in the fourth quarter. But what kind of conditioning some teams are getting if their starters are barely playing two quarters each week? Camas could enter the postseason without having a starter playing any quality time in the fourth quarter in six weeks. What impact will that have?
LOSERS: How are teams or coaches suppose to create excitement about a struggling program when the team is losing by 40 points or more each week? It’s hard to get the student body or community behind a program that keeps getting blown out. Pep rallies tend to lose some pep.
LOSERS: The fans. People in the stands want to see their favorite team win. But they also want to see good games. They aren’t seeing many this year.
WINNERS: Newspaper reporters facing print deadlines. Running-clock means shorter games. Shorter games mean more time to write and make deadline.
LOSERS: Newspaper reporters who want people to read their stories. When you see a headline indicating that the final was 48-0, you really don’t need to read much more, or you don’t want to. A story about a 28-27 game will get more readers. And those games have more drama. Stories on dramatic games are easier to write.
LOSERS: Playoff-bound teams might not be playoff ready. Playoff teams are bigger, faster and stronger, and adjusting to that may be tough for a team that has been winning game after game by 40 points each week against smaller, slower and weaker opponents.
WINNERS: The Class 2A Greater St. Helens League. The 4A GSHL title is going to come down to Skyview vs. Union on Oct. 28. Camas has all but secured the 3A GSHL title. But in the 2A GSHL, there are still several key games to be played. So area 2A schools could get more local coverage than they’ve seen in the past few years.
One of those games is coming up this Friday when Washougal (6-0, 1-0 2A GSHL) faces Woodland (3-3, 2-0) for first place in the 2A GSHL.
Washougal vs. Woodland for first place in the 2A GSHL? Who would have thought that?
The boys golf season — or at least the fall portion of it — will conclude this week for 4A and 3A.
The Class 4A and 3A district tournaments will be held Tuesday and Wednesday at Tri-Mountain.
Tim Martinez is the assistant sports/prep coordinator for The Columbian. He can be reached at (360) 735-4538 or firstname.lastname@example.org