Flashes 12-09-99

Home Cookin'

Pass the pompoms (and a copy editor) to Ahwatukee Foothills News writer and home team cheerleader Todd Goodenough.

He seems to be the only sportswriter, columnist, talk show host or thinking sports fan who can't admit that Desert Vista High School football coach Jim "The Rat" Rattay screwed up when he deliberately ran up the score in a recent quarterfinals game against Red Mountain High School.

Rattay was roundly criticized after his team -- with his son as quarterback -- ran a touchdown pass play against Red Mountain with 10 seconds left in a 17-0 game. The Desert Vista Thunder, last year's state champs, ended up scoring on that last pass, putting seven more points on the scoreboard and infuriating coaches, fans, commentators and school officials. Heck, even Rattay ended up (eventually) apologizing for a poor call in a game that's supposed to be about winning and sportsmanship.

The TD pass against Red Mountain wasn't Rattay's only indiscretion this season. In a game against South Mountain earlier in the playoffs, Rattay refused to pull his first team -- even though he was ahead 62-18. Understandably upset, South Mountain players and its coaches lashed out. Two players and the coach were ejected. Skittish refs called the game with three seconds left to play. In another game, Desert Vista tried for a two-point conversion while leading 39-0.

But columnist Goodenough couldn't see anything wrong with Rattay's actions. In fact, he suggested that Rattay was not only justified by his actions, but that Red Mountain coach "The Reverend" Jim Jones was wrong to call Rattay "unclassy."

Goodenough's December 1 opinion piece ran under the headline "Was Red Mountain's Coach Out of Line?" Goodenough explained Rattay's call for the pass was a case of "fine-tuning." He laid out his case, then concluded: "That's six solid reasons that indicate that the Thunder didn't run up the score." Later, he warns: "Jones better take a long, hard look in the mirror before he calls someone else 'unclassy.' He'll have the next eight months to reflect on his actions."

We're sure Jones is shaking in his Nikes.

Desert Vista, by the way, was upset in the state finals.

Feed the Flash: voice, 602-229-8486; fax, 602-340-8806; online, flash@newtimes.com

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