There are rules and then there are rules that are in the best interests of the athletes.
The IHSAA’s decision to implement a mercy rule in high school football this fall qualifies as the latter.
When the point differential reaches 35 points in the second half, the game clock will convert to a running clock over the final 24 minutes. The lone exceptions will be timeouts, scores and/or injuries. The running clock remains in place even if the margin drops below 35 points.
This rule was in effect in Wisconsin several years ago when one of my nephews was playing high school football. Not only does it speed up the game, it also takes the decision out of coaches’ hands. Previously in Indiana, both coaches had to agree to a running clock before it would be implemented.
This vote brought back memories of the most lopsided game I have covered in my nearly 40-year reporting career.
It was Oct. 17, 2008, and future five-time state champion coach Kevin O’Shea was in his first season at Central Catholic. With record-setting quarterback Chris Mills leading an offense that averaged nearly 48 points a game, the Knights were hosting overmatched Clinton Prairie in the regular season finale
Despite trailing 54-0 at halftime, thanks in part to five TD passes from Mills, the Clinton Prairie coach declined the offer of a running clock in the second half. Even though the CC offense limited its playbook to runs up the middle and around left end, the Knights racked up six more touchdowns in a 96-0 victory. A then-unknown freshman running back, Danny Anthrop, went untouched on a 59-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.
Central Catholic officials were embarrassed by the score and made sure to let me know at the time that it wasn’t their idea not to have a running clock. I never got an explanation from the Clinton Prairie side.

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Crawfordsville graduate Trent Johnson continued to establish himself as Purdue’s best starting pitcher while also reaching a milestone this past weekend against Michigan State.
Johnson pitched 6 1/3 innings, allowing three hits and striking out five in his longest outing as a Boilermaker in a 2-0 victory against the Spartans.
The sophomore lowered his league-leading ERA (0.39) and batting average against (.141) in Big Ten Conference play. Johnson also reached 100 career strikeouts, which Purdue officials believe makes him just the seventh sophomore in school history to reach that milestone.
Purdue coach Mark Wasikowski believes coming out of John Froedge’s successful program at Crawfordsville High School has paved the way for Johnson’s immediate success with the Boilermakers.
“No doubt about it,” Wasikowski said. “You want to recruit out of winning programs because there’s an expectation for those kids to win. When you get players from winning programs you don’t have to teach them that at the level you have teach someone who’s never experienced it.

“Credit to the people down in Crawfordsville and it’s a departmental-wide type thing. When you go to that swimming pool and all the other facilities, there’s a commitment toward winning. I love it.”
Kenny Thompson is an award-winning journalist who writes a weekly sports column for The Paper of Montgomery County.