Games are rarely won or lost in the first 30 minutes, regardless of sport. Clichés dictate contests are decided in the waning moments.
That wasn’t the case for Reno 1868 FC last Wednesday in Oklahoma City as the referee was far-too-quick to un-holster his red card and left the visiting side down a man for the final hour of the match, a 1-0 loss. The call against Fatai Alashe, on loan from the San Jose Earthquakes and playing his first match for Reno, was overturned by an independent review panel on Friday.
“Doesn’t make up for the loss, Reno 1868 FC General Manager Andy Smith tweeted. “But (I’m) glad they got it right.”
Head coach Ian Russell joined my radio show on Friday, before the decision was made, and was also pointed in his comments.
“I didn’t think it was a good call, and it completely changed the game. We were down a man for the final hour,” he said. “It ruined the game, to be honest. I did tell them that after the game.”
The call came after Alashe poked the ball away from OKC’s Jose Barril and out of bounds. As the players were walking to their spots for the throw in, Alashe nonchalantly patted Barril on the back of the neck as a sign of recognition rather than aggression.
Barril took it as aggression, however, and responded by shoving Alashe in the chest.
“He (the referee) said he could tell it was bad by how the player reacted, by pushing our player back,” Russell said. “To be honest, I didn’t think it was a great explanation and I didn’t think it was a fair explanation.”
Northern Nevada prep football programs start practice
Well, technically they could’ve started practicing last Wednesday if coaches wanted to take advantage of the four days the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association allows for ‘heat acclimation.’
Most coaches opted once again to forego those four days and started their fall camps on Monday – just 18 days before the first Friday night of the season on Aug. 25. The 2017 season will have storylines aplenty to follow in the 4A North. You could easily argue it will be one of the most intriguing falls in at least the last decade.
Can Damonte Ranch, led by Notre Dame verbal commit Cade McNamara behind center, defend its regional title? How much will Bishop Manogue improve in Ernie Howren’s first year and the vast majority of a young team returning? What will Reed look like in its first season post-Howren? How dominant is Reno’s Brandon Kaho going to be?
Staying here in Sparks: Will Spanish Springs continue to improve? The Cougars have slid one spot up the High Desert League standings in each of Eric Borja’s three seasons, finishing fifth in 2014, fourth in 2015 and third last year. What steps will the Sparks Railroaders take in their first season under the direction of former North Valleys assistant Brad Rose? Excel Christian recorded the first winning season in the program’s five-year history last year. Will 2017 wield a second-straight winning year?
It’s going to be a fun season. And it’s just beginning.
Because it’s my column and I can write about whatever I please … time for some shameless promotion. Our prep football preview edition is only two weeks away. It will feature outlooks for all 11 4A North programs, predictions, power rankings, coaches polls, schedules, and in-depth looks at the Sparks schools.
You can pick it up on stands Aug. 23.
Should Dolphins have signed Kaep over Cutler?
So many NFL training camp storylines are tired.
Player x ‘has never looked better!’ or ‘is in even better shape than he was before the injury!’ Player y is ‘really fitting into the new system!’ Player z said ‘this is the best team he’s ever been around!’
The same headlines are regurgitated every August as the nation not-so-patiently awaits real football in September. But on Sunday, the Miami Dolphins made a move that strayed from those talking points. They had to after starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill went down with a knee injury and may not see the field again in 2017.
Miami ended Jay Cutler’s three-month retirement, coaxing him from the FOX broadcast booth with a one-year, $10 million deal. The discussion quickly morphed from ‘wow’ to ‘wait a minute? What about Kaepernick? He’s better than Cutler!’
Miami is coached by Adam Gase, who was Cutler’s offensive coordinator in Chicago in 2015 and reportedly went solo in convincing the Vanderbilt boy to bring his talents to south beach. With Gase calling the plays in 2015, Cutler had arguably the best season of his 11-year career. No kidding Gase wanted him.
Cutler set career highs in rating (92.3), yards per attempt (7.4) and fourth-quarter comebacks (4). He threw 21 touchdowns opposed to 11 interceptions, the lowest number of picks he’s thrown in a full season. He completed 64.4 percent of his passes (second highest) for 3,659 yards (third highest), which was good for an average of 243.9 yards per game (third highest).
Kaepernick’s talents should have already landed him on an NFL roster. If you choose to argue he’s not one of the best 32 quarterbacks on the planet (he is), you can’t deny he’s outside the top 64. But the decision for Miami and Gase to go get Cutler adds up.
Other free agent signings around the League this summer were far more egregious: Kellen Moore (Dallas), Ryan Nassib (New Orleans), T.J. Yates (Buffalo), Austin Davis (Seattle), Blaine Gabbert (Arizona), Mark Sanchez (Chicago), Case Keenum (Minnesota), Geno Smith (New York Giants). That’s just to name a few.
Nathan can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. His weekly column, ‘Shoup Shots,’ was named the best column in the state of Nevada (community division) by the Nevada Press Association. It runs in the hard copy of the Sparks Tribune every Tuesday morning. Nathan’s weekly radio show airs Fridays at noon on ESPN Radio 94.5 FM.