Trick football play sidelined
April 22, 2006
Steamboat Springs football coach Aaron Finch had dreams of scoring touchdowns.
As a former offensive lineman, however, Finch knew his options were limited. There was the chance, as a guard, his coach would call for the fumblerooski, a trick play designed for linemen.
“It was one of the plays you always wanted them to run,” Finch said. “A couple of times we actually practiced it and tried to put it in.”
The National Federation of State High School Associations banned the fumblerooski this month, citing the burden the play was on officials.
In a successful fumblerooski, the quarterback sets the ball on the ground after the snap — or fumbles. The offensive players fake a play one direction, and a guard picks up the ball and runs the other way.
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The Colorado High School Activities Association has the option of adopting NFSHSA rules, and CHSAA assistant commissioner Bert Borgmann said Colorado will ban the fumblerooski heading into the 2006 season.
“It’s sad, because linemen have that dream of carrying the football,” Finch said.
The rule change won’t affect the Sailors, who have stopped running the play, but former Steamboat football coach Mark Drake was known for trick plays, including the fumblerooski.
“We probably ran it at least once a game,” Drake said. “There was one game when our guard was our leading rusher. There were times when a guard was too slow, and we would swap a tackle in there.”
Colleges banned the fumblerooski more than 10 years ago, and the NFL banned the play in the 1960s.
Oklahoma Sooners guard Mark Hutson recorded one of the more memorable plays before the NCAA ban, according to ESPN.com. Oklahoma lost to Miami, 20-14, in the 1988 Orange Bowl, but Hutson scored a touchdown on a 29-yard run with two minutes left in the game.
The Sailors ran the play with similar success. It was just a matter of timing when calling for the fumblerooski, which had a variety of names during Drake’s tenure.
“We’ve scored several touchdowns on it,” Drake said. “You have to try to time it just right to catch them off guard, like just after a turnover, bing, or you complete a big pass play, and then, bing.”