SIDELINE PATROL: A life without football would be without

Peter Silas Pasqua
Peter Silas Pasqua is the sports editor for the Gonzales Weekly Citizen. He can be reached at sports@weeklycitizen.com

There are several differences between a football game and a revolution. For one thing, a football game usually lasts longer and the participants wear uniforms. Also, there are usually more casualties in a football game. The object of the game is to move a ball past the other team's goal line. This counts as six points. No points are given for lacerations, contusions, or abrasions, but then no points are deducted, either. Kicking is very important in football. In fact, some of the more enthusiastic players even kick the ball, occasionally.                  

~Alfred Hitchcock

The game of football is an American sport. So much so, the rest of the world calls it American football because they like to call soccer football. 

Actually the history of the game can be traced to early versions of rugby and soccer. Although there are mentions of Native Americans playing ball games, both football and soccer have 22 players on the field of play and they also use the same player position references such as halfback and fullback

The game of football dates as far back as the 1840’s at Ivy League schools such as Harvard, Yale and Princeton. But it wasn’t till 1869, when Yale banned rugby ruling it too violent and dangerous that the first game of American football was played between Princeton and Rutgers.

The game spread throughout the country and in a large part gave the South something to cheer for after Reconstruction following the Civil War.

The competitive team sport is known for combining strategy with physical play. The objective of the game is to score points by advancing the ball into the opposing team's end zone. The ball can be advanced by carrying it  or by throwing it to a teammate

Points can be scored in a variety of ways, including carrying the ball over the opponent's goal line, catching a pass thrown over that goal line, kicking the ball through the goal posts at the opponent's end zone, or tackling an opposing ball carrier within his end zone and the winner is the team with the most points when time expires.

Walter Camp is widely considered the most important figure in the development of American football. He proposed a reduction of 15 players to 11 to open up the game and emphasize speed over strength. He also established the line of scrimmage and the snap from the center to the quarterback.

The game went on to develop the forward pass to continue to open the game up and reduce injury following 19 fatalities in 1905 alone as mass formation plays became illegal.

The first professional league was founded in 1920 and a year later the Green Bay Packers entered. They now have the record for the longest use of an unchanged team name.

Though all the changes, however one thing has remained the same. Physical contact.

All but one coach returns for local area high school teams this season and everyone has great expectations.

Dutchtown is coming off a playoff run and despite key losses, hope the tradition of the program built since its opening will carry over. East Ascension also loses several integral players but expect a young group with plenty of experience to return the Spartans to the playoffs. St. Amant is optimistic after a disappointing season last year as the Gators return a slew of players and have grasped onto a new system.

Donaldsonville welcomes a new coach and are expecting to continue its recent success of late. Ascension Catholic returns all but five starters and want to return to the playoffs. And Ascension Christian is starting a football program from scratch this season.

In college, expectations are high at LSU despite a dismal season a year ago. And the Saints hope to return to the playoffs after Drew Brees nearly broke Dan Marino’s single-season passing record last season.

Fall is in the air and helmets are colliding. Check out a football game.