Special emphasis will be made this football season for targeting or hitting a defenseless player. It’s part of a few rules changes and points of emphasis announced recently by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS), the ruling body nationally for high school sports.

College football has in recent years, in attempting to avoid serious injuries, made a point to review plays where a player has deliberately hit an opponent to cause injury. Officials can eject the offending player, if after a video review, they believe a hit to be excessive (called targeting). This same emphasis of caution is being brought up by NFHS for the high school game. However, video tape replays are not allowed to be reviewed in high school contests, thus, officials can rule “targeting” by a player on an opponent and eject the offender for the remainder of the game, according to the NFHS officials.

In rule changes announced for the 2022 season, teams can now have a player wear the single zero number. Up to now, no one was allowed to have the uniform number zero.

NFHS has also put in place effective in 2024 rules that define how numerals on the uniforms shall be printed in order to make them more readable.

Other rule changes:

-                 Intentional grounding: Under prior NFHS rules, it is a foul if there was no eligible receiver in the area of the pass, regardless of the passer’s position on the field. NFHS will allow a quarterback outside the “box” to throw the ball away as long as the ball reaches or passes the line of scrimmage. Otherwise, intentional grounding will be flagged and that is a five-yard penalty from the point of infraction and a loss of down.

-                 A chop block has been redefined as an illegal combination block where contact is made above and below the waist.

-                 NFHS has also clarified the rules for game clock operation following a penalty inside of two minutes remaining in either the half or the game. The offended team can decide whether the game clock should begin immediately when the ball is placed at the line of scrimmage or when the ball is snapped.

Pear Fair Run is Sunday 

Courtland’s Pear Fair Country Run is back. They are five- and 10-mile runs and quite unique courses, too. They are 95 percent cross country courses, mostly pavement free along vineyards, orchards and sloughs.

The runs start Sunday, July 31, at 7:30 a.m. and are a part of the Courtland Pear Fair Festival.

Organizers also have a free kids’ half-mile run that begins at 8 a.m.  This course wraps around the Pear Fair grounds on streets in the city of Courtland.

The best thing will again be unique pear trophies to the winners. Registration is done online at  www.pearfair.com.

Outdoor Wrestling Coming to Old Town

The City of Elk Grove along with its Police Officers Association, the K9 Association and Warriorz Health and Fitness are organizing an outdoor wrestling meet on Saturday, July 30, between 7:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. at 9615 Railroad Street in Old Town.

The idea of the event is to bring awareness to the issue of bullying and how it impacts youth in the community, utilizing wrestling. The event will teach youth the benefits of wrestling as a physical activity and promote development of self-confidence, self-defense, teamwork, sportsmanship and camaraderie.

Register for the event on trackwrestling.com and search for “Battle in Old Town.”

ESPY for Larson

Elk Grove race car driver Kyle Larson won the 2022 ESPY Award for being the best race car driver of the past year. The annual sports award celebration is sponsored by and televised over ESPN.

Larson won 33 races in 2021 on both NASCAR Cup Series and the various sprint car tracks around the country. He was the Cup Series Champion in 2021.

Last week Larson and his brother-in-law, Brad Sweet, announced they are backing a new 12-car series of races beginning in 2023 for sprint cars. The idea is to have big purses and grow the sprint car industry through a series of midweek races. They’ve named it “High Limit Sprint Car Series.”

The pair is promising a schedule of events to be released in the next few weeks and that their races won’t interfere with the World of Outlaws’ circuit of races around the country.

email: egsports@valleyoakpress.com

Twitter: @EGCSports

John's Twitter: @JohnHullEG

Sports Editor

John Hull has been with the Citizen sports department since 2007. His background is in radio and television then spent 15 years as a media production teacher at Cosumnes River College and Luther Burbank High School, retiring in 2019.