NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - Nacogdoches High School football coach Scott Ford wasn't in the best of moods the Monday after his team lost in Friday's game against Jacksonville. The nation marvels at the game's length of over 5 hours and for breaking the national record of 12 overtimes, but as Ford watches the highlights he's thinking, "Not pleased with having to play 12 overtimes because of a rule that we as head coaches and athletic directors adopted," said Ford.
Ford is talking about the tie breaker rule where players intentionally let the other team score to maintain their chance to go to the playoffs. "And that's not football to me," said Ford.
Damion Johnson led the Dragons. It's against his nature to give touchdowns away. "You don't ever want to see the other team score, but, you know, we realized that's what we had to do," said Johnson.
Coach Ford was one of only three coaches from the 8 schools in the 14-4a district voting against the tie breaker rule. From the beginning, he and Jacksonville coach Steve Wells were at odds about the rule.
" With us losing our quarterback to a concussion in the 12th overtime and a receiver separating his shoulder in the 11th overtime, I think, I just hope it's something we change in the future," said Ford.
Quarterback Jacob Howard's head is still ringing after a hard hit in the 12th overtime. " I'm quite dizzy at the moment. When I walk my vision is blurry and I'm just waiting to black out," said the high school senior.
The argument is these long games can lead to serious injuries to young, growing players. " NFL, those guys are getting paid a lot of money to do what they do. In college, they get a free education to do what they do. In high schools is where we see the worse problems with this," said Nacogdoches neurosurgeon, Dr. Mike Randle.
"And so hopefully, it will be something that leads us to change in the future," said Ford.
In the meantime, the coach wants the team to enjoy the attention the game has brought and learn a life lesson. " I do want to say, I'm very proud of our kids and gotten a lot of compliments on the fact our kids don't quit," said Ford.
The coach is instructing players this week to finish what they started and rally for Friday's game against Hallsville.
Star quarterback Jacob Howard will be sidelined for what would have been his last game as a senior. He doesn't want to risk jeopardizing a future at the college level.